MPS Commissioner to be made a Dame Commander

The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Dame Cressida Dick is to be made a Dame Commander by the Prince of Wales in recognition of her public service.

Jul 14, 2021
By Tony Thompson
MPS Commissioner Cressida Dick

News of the honour comes just ahead of the start of negotiations for her to remain in office for a further term. Her current contract expires in April.

The first female head of the MPS and a police officer for 38 years, her leadership of the force has come under increasing scrutiny and criticism in recent months.

Earlier this week, the MPS face criticism over security failures at Wembley Stadium, which led to violence at the final of Euro 2020 on Sunday. The force was accused of failing to deploy enough officers and not creating a “ring of steel” around the venue to stop un-ticketed fans from gaining entry.

Dame Cressida has also faced criticism over the policing of a vigil for murder victim Sarah Everard at Clapham Common last year after officers arrested a number of protesters. Last week, Police Constable Wayne Couzens pleaded guilty to the murder of Ms Everard.

A recent report into the unsolved 1987 murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan also accused the MPS of “institutional corruption” after concluding it had concealed or denied failings in the case to protect its reputation. Dame Cressida denied allegations that she had not fully cooperated with the inquiry panel.

Both incidents prompted calls for her to resign, which she refused to do.

In 2005 she was in command of a counter-terrorism operation during which Jean Charles De Menezes was repeatedly shot in the head at Stockwell Tube station in South London by officers who mistook the 27-year-old Brazilian for a suicide bomber.

Dame Cressida was later cleared of any blame in his death by a jury but told BBC’s Desert Island Discs that the events of that day had remained with her. “I think about it quite often,” she said. “It was a traumatic period. It was an awful time for so many people, obviously and most of all Jean Charles’s family, the people who were there when it happened, the firearms officers, the surveillance officers.

“I was very conscious it was a hundred million times worse for other people than it was for me, but I was very high profile, quite rightly held to account.”

Dame Cressida grew up in Oxford and attended the city’s university, graduating from Baliol College in 1982. Following a brief spell working at an accountancy firm, she joined the MPS in 1983, patrolling the West End in London before working as a Sergeant in southwest London and an Inspector for five years in Peckham.

She then joined Thames Valley Police as a Superintendent, where she oversaw policing in her home city of Oxford. After a short career break, she returned to the MPS in 2001 as a commander. She was appointed Commissioner in 2017.

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