Open letter calls for replacment of MPS Commissioner
The mother of murder victim Stephen Lawrence and the widow of Leon Brittan, the former Conservative Home Secretary, are leading a high-profile group of seven “concerned individuals” calling for the replacement of the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).
In an open letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, published in the Daily Mail, the group state that Dame Cressida Dick should not be given a two-year extension to her current contract as expected but should instead be replaced “by an appointee outside of London via a truly independent and transparent process”.
The group further calls for “urgent and long overdue” reform of the police complaints system and a shake-up of the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which it describes as being “unfit for purpose”.
The group is demanding meeting with the Prime Minister and Home Secretary Priti Patel to “ensure that meaningful reform is delivered within a reasonable timeframe”.
Other members of the group include the son of D-Day hero Lord Bramall and former MP Harvey Proctor, both of whom were falsely accused of involvement with a paedophile ring by convicted liar Carl Beech as part of the MPS’s ill-fated Operation Midland.
Broadcaster Paul Gambaccini, arrested over false sex abuse allegations in 2013, and Alastair Morgan, brother of private eye Daniel Morgan whose 1987 murder remains unsolved, have also added their names to the letter.
Mr Gambaccini spent a year on bail before the case was dropped. In an out-of-court settlement last year, the MPS agreed to pay him more than £250,000 for breaching his privacy. Earlier this year a report into the case accused the MPS of institutional corruption, an allegation denied by Dame Cressida.
The full text of the letter states: “We write to you as a group of concerned individuals seeking urgent and long overdue reform of policing, the police complaints system and, in particular, the MPS.
“Our stories and individual experiences are very different but we have all been victims of the incompetence and malpractice which pervades the leadership of the MPS. This includes racial discrimination, systemic corruption and the reckless and unjustified harassment of innocent people.
“After decades of equivocation and inertia, we are calling for immediat and decisive action from your administration. We have – reluctantly – become public figures as a result of our experienes but we are determined to use our voice to push for reform. This is the only way to restore confidence in our capital’s police service, and to ensure that these injustices cannot be repeated.
“First, there must be accountability. After decades of investigation and numerous independent and numerous independent, judge-led inquiries, the scale and exact nature of the failures within the MPS have become a matter of public record. Yet not a single individual has been held accountable for this catalogue of errors.
“Dame Cressida Dick, who has presided over a culture of incompetence and cover-up, must not have her contract extended and must be properly investigated for her conduct, along with her predecessors and those in her inner circle, who she appointed and who have questions to answer. She should be replaced by an appointee from outside London via a truly indendent and transparent process.
“Second, there must be oversight. A system which allows the police to set the parameteers of the inquiries into their own misconduct, as was and is the case after Operation Midland, is self-evidently broken. The IOPC, which is supposed to oversee complaints against the police, is demonstrably unfit for purpose as it is currently structured.
“A functional governance system must be established, led by a credible and legally-trained individual, and they must be given the powers to investigate and hold the police services to account. The IOPC must themselves be properly accountable to the Home Secretary with an independent oversight mechanism.
“Lastly, we would like to request an urgent meeting with yourself and the Home Secretary to discuss these matters and ensure that meaningful reform is delivered within a reasonable time-frame. We share a collective concern that the leadership of the MPS will continue to act as though they are above the law and that the general public do not have a viable means of recourse. We are confident that these issues can be addressed through a constructive dialogue.
As Prime Minister, you have the opportunity to begin the process of change and improvement which will restore trust in our police services.”
The letter is signed by Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon, Lady Brittan of Spennithorne, Alastair Morgan, Paul Gambaccini, Nicolas Bramall, Michael McManus and Harvey Proctor.
The MPS and IOPC have been approached for comment.