Cressida Dick stepping down as Metropolitan Police Commissioner as Mayor doubts leadership

Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo outlines the series of police errors that led to Dame Cressida Dick's downfall

Dame Cressida Dick is stepping down from her role as the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, saying she was left with "no choice" as the Mayor of London "no longer has sufficient confidence" in her leadership.

Sadiq Khan said he was "not satisfied" with Dame Cressida's response to a series of scandals that have engulfed her force and it was "clear" new leadership was needed.

Asked if there was a "final straw" in his decision making, he cited a scathing watchdog report that found "disgraceful" evidence of Met Officers sending violently racist, sexist, homophobic and bullying messages to each other which they attempted to cover up as "banter".

Announcing she was standing down, Dame Cressida said it was with "huge sadness" adding that serving in the role "has been the greatest honour and privilege of my life".

Her resignation comes just hours after she insisted she had "no intention of going". The commissioner will stay in her role for a short period until a replacement is appointed.

Who might replace Cressida Dick? Rohit Kachroo says there is one candidate who is popular with the London mayor

Why has the London Mayor lost 'sufficient confidence' in Dame Cressida?

"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," London Mayor Sadiq Khan said.

"I am not satisfied with the Commissioner’s response.

"On being informed of this, Dame Cressida Dick has said she will be standing aside," he confirmed.

Mr Khan said "new leadership" is the "only way to start to deliver the scale of the change required" in the force.

He added: "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."

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan's explains why he is 'not satisfied' with Dame Cressida's response to a series of controversies in the Met

It is understood that Dame Cressida had submitted her plan for reform of the Met Police but that Mr Khan did not think it met what was required.

The mayor is said to have called her in for a meeting at 4.30pm on Thursday which Ms Dick did not attend. Instead, she submitted her resignation.

The Home Office did not know in advance, it's been reported, with a mayoral source confirming to PA: "It was a Sadiq-led thing."

What did Dame Cressida Dick say in her statement announcing her resignation?

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.

"Undertaking this role as a servant of the people of London and the UK has been the greatest honour and privilege of my life," she said.

The outgoing commissioner said the force was "delivering" on its pledge to tackle violence in the capital - "overall violence is down," she said.

Dame Cressida said the force was "bucking the national trend" and "achieving remarkable results in key areas of violence, with thousands of fewer victims of knife crime, robbery and other attacks."

Last year was the worst year for teenage killings in London on record. A total of 30 teenager homicides happened in 2021.

In full: Dame Cressida Dick's resignation statement as she says she is 'proud' of the Met

Dame Cressida admitted a series of scandals and controversies had "damaged confidence" in the Met.

She cited the murder of Sarah Everard. Wayne Couzens, who was then a serving Met Police office, is serving a whole term sentence after kidnapping, raping and murdering the 33-year-old.

The former officer had been accused of indecent exposure just days before he abducted, raped and murdered Ms Everard.

Following outcry about women's safety in the capital, the Met then had to retract their "indefensible" advice telling women in trouble to flag down a bus and challenge plain-clothed police officers.

They were also criticised for their handling of a vigil following Ms Everard's death.

Further calls for Dame Cressida's resignation came after two Met officers, PC Deniz Jaffer and PC Jamie Lewis, were jailed for taking "inappropriate" and "unauthorised" pictures of the bodies of murdered sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman, while they were supposed to be securing the crime scene.

There were also findings of institutional corruption over the Met's handling of the murder case of Daniel Morgan.

Most recently, an investigation by ITV News also found Met officers have used force thousands of times on women who said they were pregnant or possibly pregnant following arrest.

The force has also faced mounting criticism over its apparent hesitation to launch an investigation into a series of alleged parties held in Downing Street and the Cabinet Office during lockdown.

What has the reaction been to the news Dame Cressida is stepping down?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a tweet: "Dame Cressida has served her country with great dedication and distinction over many decades.

"I thank her for her role protecting the public and making our streets safer."

Home Secretary Priti Patel thanked Dame Cressida for nearly 40 years of public service and latterly for her work as the first female commissioner, saying she "exemplified the increasingly diverse nature of our police and demonstrated that all can aspire to hold leadership roles in policing".

Ms Patel added in a statement: “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".

Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper MP, praised Mr Khan in "showing leadership" by addressing the need for "reforms to the Metropolitan Police".

"I thank Cressida Dick for her many years of public service including her work on counter-terrorism and tackling violence in the capital," Ms Cooper said in a statement.

 She added: "Reforms are needed to rebuild public confidence in the Metropolitan Police after recent cases. Every day the police do incredibly important work, in London and across the country to keep us all safe and trust in that good work must not be undermined by cultural failures or delays in tackling officers who abuse their positions.

 "This isn’t just an issue for London - the Home Secretary must support reforms to raise standards across the country to support the essential work the police do."

Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, Ken Marsh, said Cressida Dick has been treated in a “wholly unfair” way and said "we are deeply saddened" by the news.

“She was much loved across the rank and file of the Metropolitan Police Service," he added.

“We feel the way she has been treated is wholly unfair and we did believe that she was the person who could take us through this and bring us out the other side.”

Meanwhile Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey called on the prime minister to “publicly recuse” himself from the decision to appoint Dame Cressida Dick’s successor because he is being investigated by the force.

He said in a statement: “Boris Johnson must have no role in choosing Cressida Dick’s successor to lead the Met. A man under criminal investigation by the Met should not be able to choose who’s in charge of it."

Sir Ed added: "I would like to thank Cressida Dick for her years of dedicated police service, but a change of leadership in the Met is long overdue.

"Met police officers who work incredibly hard and risk their lives to keep us safe deserve better. They urgently need new leadership that will change the culture and rebuild the public trust and confidence that officers need to do their jobs and keep us all safe."