Dame Cressida Dick to step down as MPS Commissioner

Dame Cressida Dick is to stand down as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) after losing the support of the Mayor of London, it was announced today (February 10).

Feb 10, 2022
By Tony Thompson
MPS Commissioner Cressida Dick

Dame Cressida has led the force since 2017 and recently had her contract extended to 2024, but will now leave two years early.

Her decision comes after the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, presented her with an ultimatum of either coming up with a plan to rapidly reform the MPS following a series of scandals including the murder of Sarah Everard by serving officer Wayne Couzens, racist and misogynist and homophobic messages exchanged by officers shared by officers at Charing Cross police station.

Mr Khan said: “Last week, I made clear to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner the scale of the change I believe is urgently required to rebuild the trust and confidence of Londoners in the Met and to root out the racism, sexism, homophobia, bullying, discrimination and misogyny that still exists. I am not satisfied with the Commissioner’s response.

“On being informed of this, Dame Cressida Dick has said she will be standing aside. It’s clear that the only way to start to deliver the scale of the change required is to have new leadership right at the top of the Metropolitan Police.

“I will now work closely with the Home Secretary on the appointment of a new Commissioner so that we can move quickly to restore trust in the capital’s police service while keeping London safe.”

In a statement released by the MPS, Dame Cressida said: “It is with huge sadness that following contact with the Mayor of London today, it is clear that the Mayor no longer has sufficient confidence in my leadership to continue. He has left me no choice but to step aside as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service.

“At his request, I have agreed to stay on for a short period to ensure the stability of the Met and its leadership while arrangements are made for a transition to a new Commissioner.

“Undertaking this role as a servant of the people of London and the UK has been the greatest honour and privilege of my life.”

Dame Cressida acknowledged that, following a series of high-profile cases and scandals during her time as leader, trust in the police has fallen. “The murder of Sarah Everard and many other awful cases recently have, I know, damaged confidence in this fantastic police service,” she said. “There is much to do – and I know that the Met has turned its full attention to rebuilding public trust and confidence. For that reason I am very optimistic about the future for the Met and for London. “

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “I’d like to thank Dame Cressida for the nearly four decades of her life that she has devoted to serving the public, latterly as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

“She would be the first to say that she has held the role during challenging times; yet for nearly five years she has undertaken her duties with a steadfast dedication to protecting our capital city and its people – including during the unprecedented period of the pandemic.

“Leading the Met has also involved driving our national counter terrorism capability at a time of multiple threats while as the first woman to hold the post, she has exemplified the increasingly diverse nature of our police and demonstrated that all can aspire to hold leadership roles in policing in this country today.”

Dame Cressida’s resignation was announced just hours after she gave a radio interview stating that she intended to carry on in the role. Speaking to BBC Radio London she said: “I have absolutely no intention of going and I believe that I am and have been, actually for the last five years, leading a real transformation in the Met.

“We have a service now which is, I’m absolutely certain, more professional, fairer, more transparent, more accountable and closer to its communities and more effective in, for example, reducing violent crime, which has been going down year-on-year-on-year in almost every category, bucking the national trends. I expect to be held to account, it’s a big job and I’m quite used to being asked to account for things and I will go on doing so in the future.”

Labour’s London Assembly Policing and Crime Spokesperson, Unmesh Desai AM, said: “I would like to thank Dame Cressida Dick for her service to the capital which has spanned four decades, where she ended her career as the first woman to become Commissioner.

“It is clear that there is a toxic culture in some parts of the Metropolitan Police and this needs to be urgently addressed. Recent events and revelations have reinforced this beyond all doubt.

“The Met have a huge challenge ahead of them when it comes to restoring the trust and confidence of all Londoners. It is vital that the right person is now appointed by the Home Secretary and the Mayor to lead them through this process of deep transformation.

“The Mayor has been right to step in and maximise the pressure on the Met’s current leadership to enact the scale of change needed. There are thousands of dedicated police officers in our capital that are incredibly serious about stamping out racism, sexism, homophobia and religious intolerance within their ranks”.

Ken Marsh, chair of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said: “The Metropolitan Police Federation – and The Metropolitan Police officers we represent – are saddened at the news Commissioner Cressida Dick is leaving her role.

“This is of course a challenging time for the Metropolitan Police Service. But policing and police officers are an easy target for critics who have never spent a day in our shoes or dealt with the daily challenges we face.

“Whilst the Federation did not always agree with Commissioner Cressida Dick, we think she was doing a good job in difficult circumstances. She genuinely cares about London, its citizens and – importantly from our perspective – her officers and their families. Her removal leaves a void in the leadership of London and UK policing at what is a critical time.

“Cressida Dick should have been given the opportunity and the necessary time to build back trust in the Metropolitan Police Service. She has been denied that. She should have been treated better.

“We will now – like all Londoners – await to see who politicians deem fit to lead the Metropolitan Police Service in 2022 and beyond. And to see who is willing to take up that challenge.”

Labour’s London Assembly policing and crime spokesperson, Unmesh Desai AM, said: “I would like to thank Dame Cressida Dick for her service to the capital which has spanned four decades, where she ended her career as the first woman to become Commissioner.

“It is clear that there is a toxic culture in some parts of the Metropolitan Police and this needs to be urgently addressed. Recent events and revelations have reinforced this beyond all doubt.

“The Met have a huge challenge ahead of them when it comes to restoring the trust and confidence of all Londoners.

“It is vital that the right person is now appointed by the Home Secretary and the mayor to lead them through this process of deep transformation.

“The mayor has been right to step in and maximise the pressure on the Met’s current leadership to enact the scale of change needed. There are thousands of dedicated police officers in our capital that are incredibly serious about stamping out racism, sexism, homophobia and religious intolerance within their ranks”.

National Police Chiefs’ Council chair Martin Hewitt said: “Dame Cressida Dick cares deeply about the people of London and the Met’s mission to keep Londoners safe. We owe her a debt of gratitude for her four decades of dedicated service and huge contribution to policing and public service.”

The chief executive officer of the College of Policing, Andy Marsh, tweeted: “[Dame] Cressida can be proud of her significant contribution to policing and public service. She is a selfless and talented leader, who will be missed by many, including me.”

In a statement, the Met BPA said: “The Metropolitan Police (Met) is at a critical point, with trust and confidence significantly eroded throughout London’s communities.

“Upon the appointment of the new Commissioner, new leadership must be willing to fully acknowledge the importance of the task ahead and produce a plan of action that guards against deflection or non-acceptance of institutional racism. It must, instead, provide a compelling, robust and swift response in order to restore public trust and confidence.

“The Met BPA values its continued partnership with the Met and Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime and acknowledges the importance of its role as a critical friend. We will continue to be the voice of our members, minority-ethnic colleagues and communities in holding the Met to account.

“We wish the Commissioner all the best for the future.”

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