Cressida Dick leaves Met Police 'in crisis' and public trust low, former chief superintendent says
Cressida Dick's dismissal was swift, her demise dramatic, Dan Hewitt reports on the Met Chief's resignation
Dame Cressida Dick has left the Metropolitan Police "in crisis" with trust in the force having gone "through the floor" under her leadership, a former chief superintendent has said.
Dal Babu, who was in the Met for 30 years before retiring in 2013, told ITV News Dame Cressida had no vision for the force and there was a "big factor of a lack of confidence" in police during her five year tenure as commissioner.
He said the force now needs a commissioner who "can show tough love, who can understand the challenges that the organisation faces and actually make some changes - it's going to take a strong leader to make those things happen".
Dame Cressida's resignation as commissioner of the Metropolitan Police sparked a flurry of reactions from the public as well as from politicians and those within the force.
The reactions have been a mixed bag, with critics “delighted” while supporters express they are “deeply saddened”.
In a statement on Thursday, Dame Cressida said she will stand aside because London Mayor Sadiq Khan “no longer has sufficient confidence in my leadership to continue”.
Mr Babu called for a judge-led review that looks into all the issues the force is currently facing.
Home Secretary Priti Patel, who has the responsibility for appointing Dame Cressida's replacement, said she will choose the right leader.
She said: "Following a series of appalling and sickening incidents and too many historical cases involving serving Met Police officers, it is clear that strong and decisive and new leadership will be required to restore public confidence in the largest police force in the country."
In full: Dame Cressida Dick's resignation statement as she says she is 'proud' of the Met
The news comes a week after Mr Khan said he was “not satisfied” with the Met Commissioner’s response to calls for change following a series of scandals including the murder of Sarah Everard by serving officer Wayne Couzens, as well as racist, misogynist and homophobic messages exchanged by officers at Charing Cross police station.
Former Metropolitan Police superintendent Nusrit Mehtab, who quit the force after alleging she suffered racist abuse in a "toxic workplace" told ITV News it was about time Dame Cressida resigned over her “disastrous” leadership.
“The writing’s been on the wall, it was absolutely the right decision, and quite honestly I’m surprised that it’s taken the Mayor or Priti Patel this long”, she said.
'It's been scandal after scandal' former Met Police officer Nusrit Mehtab told ITV News
Ms Mehtab added: “If you look at the performance of Cressida Dick over the last five years … it’s been scandal after scandal and certainly over the last two years, it’s just been disastrous."
Ms Mehtab said issues including how the Black Lives Matter protests were policed and the policing of the Sarah Everard vigil as well as the incident of two police officers taking “inappropriate” pictures of the bodies of two murdered sisters, and the scandal at the Charing Cross police station of officers exchanging violently racist, misogynist and homophobic messages, have all led to a loss in confidence and trust in the Met police under Dame Cressida’s watch.
“Londoners need to have faith in the next person to actually really shake up policing and really change it and particularly the Met. Londoners do not want to see another Comissioner Dick”, Ms Mehtab added.
'We're happy that she's resigned' the family of Jack Taylor who was murdered by serial killer Stephen Port said
Jenny Taylor, the sister of Jack Taylor who was one of the victims of serial killer Stephen Port, said her family was “happy” Dame Cressida resigned, because even though she was not Commissioner at the time of the murders, they felt she did not do enough to help them get justice for Jack.
The Met was accused of homophobia over its failings in the investigation into Stephen Port, and inquest jurors in December found that “fundamental failures” by the police were likely to have contributed to the deaths of three of his victims between June 2014 and September 2015.
Ms Taylor told ITV News: “We’re happy that she’s resigned. Recently we had a meeting with her and she came across like she was going to stand up and be counted, and really we feel like she hasn’t done that.
“We thought that when we went to see her that she was going to support us and help us and make sure we got the justice that Jack and the boys deserved, and the families, and that wasn’t happening”.
Ricky Waumsley, whose partner Daniel Whitworth was another of Stephen Port’s victims, has also welcomed Dame Cressida Dick’s resignation.
Mr Waumsley told the PA news agency his first thought when he heard the news was “about time” and that he hoped more resignations would follow.
“She had clung on to that position so tight when, all around her, the officers she was in charge of have been racist, homophobic and sexist,” he said.
He added: “When I was let down by the Met police because of their blatant homophobia towards the four victims that Stephen Port killed, and the inquest concluded that the Met failures ‘probably’ contributed to their deaths, I held Cressida accountable for these failures and made a statement that she should ‘resign with immediate effect’. So I am glad.
“This will be a small justice for the four victims and I hope more resignations within the Met police will come."
Alastair Morgan, who has spent decades campaigning for justice for his brother Daniel, who was killed with an axe in a pub car park in Sydenham, south-east London, in the 1980s, said Dame Cressida has “disappointed” his family on every level.
In June, an independent panel accused the Metropolitan Police of “a form of institutional corruption” for concealing or denying failings over the case.
Dame Cressida Dick apologised to Mr Morgan’s family, saying it was a “matter of great regret that no-one has been brought to justice and that our mistakes have compounded the pain suffered by Daniel’s family”.
Speaking to PA, he said: “The first time I dealt with Cressida Dick was in 2012 and since then all she has done in relation to my family is just delay, obstruct and disappoint on a huge level.
“Although I think it is a shame that we are seeing another commissioner disappear under a cloud of smoke, it is necessary.
“My only anxiety now is who is going to replace her and face the massive job in front of them of rebuilding confidence in the Met."
Former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor, whose house was raided by officers from the Met’s failed Operation Midland launched in reaction to false allegations by jailed fantasist Carl Beech about a murderous VIP paedophile ring, said he was delighted by the news.
“It is now time to clean the Augean stables so that a full inquiry can be conducted on all her personal mistakes,” he said.
Campaign group Reclaim These Streets, which is bringing a legal challenge against the force over its handling of a Sarah Everard vigil, simply tweeted: “Good Riddance.”
Patsy Stevenson, who was arrested at the vigil, was pleased that Dame Cressida had gone.
“We need to focus as well on this not being a token gesture,” she said.
“This does not fix anything, and I just hope that whoever is in charge next understands that radical change needs to be implemented to fix the systemic issues within the Met”.
Meanwhile, Labour MP Dawn Butler tweeted: “I said Cressida Dick had to go".
“I’m now pleased @MayorofLondon has accepted her resignation.
“The replacement must be committed to serious reform and building trust back into the Met”.
Fellow Labour MP Zarah Sultana said "Cressida Dick should never have led the Met. She was the officer in charge when Jean Charles de Menezes was fatally shot".
"Her departure is long-overdue".
Meanwhile, colleagues and supporters of Dame Cressida condemned the way she was forced to resign, saying she was “much loved” across the force.
Speaking to PA, Metropolitan Police Federation chair Ken Marsh said: “We are deeply saddened by the resignation of our commissioner.
“She was much loved across the rank and file of the Metropolitan Police Service.
“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”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson also praised the outgoing commissioner for serving with “great dedication and distinction over many decades”.
“I thank her for her role protecting the public and making our streets safer,” he tweeted.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said Dame Cressida “held the role during challenging times” and “exemplified the increasingly diverse nature of our police” as the first woman to hold the post.
“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,” Ms Patel said.
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey also thanked her, but added “a change of leadership in the Met is long overdue”.
He also demanded that Mr Johnson “publicly recuse” himself over the appointment of her successor due to the ongoing Met investigation into parties held in No 10 during Covid restrictions.