Future of Met Police chief Cressida Dick 'hangs in balance' over message scandal response, says Khan

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The future of Cressida Dick is hanging in the balance over the Met Police chief's response to outrage sparked by racist, misogynist and homophobic messages exchanged by officers.

Sadiq Khan said on Wednesday his trust and confidence in Cressida Dick hinges on how she addresses problems with the culture at the force and her plan to win back the trust of the public.

The Mayor of London is responsible for holding the Commissioner to account and is consulted by the Home Secretary over who is appointed to the role.

Mr Khan's comments came after a series of disturbing messages exchanged by a group of officers, primarily based at Charing Cross police station, were published by a watchdog last week.

Asked if Dame Cressida still has his trust and confidence, Mr Khan told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "That will be contingent upon the response from the Commissioner the next time I see her."

Mr Khan said he sees the Commissioner "on a regular basis", adding: "The next time I see her I'll expect to see a response to the two big questions that I posed."

He told the programme: "So the first part of what I expect to see is - what is the response from the Commissioner as to how she intends to address the culture, address the situation, where too many police officers are behaving in a way that's unacceptable?

"And by the way, nine of those 14 police officers - you mentioned Charing Cross - are still serving.

"And secondly, what is the plan to win back the trust and confidence in the public in relation to the police service that police our capital city?"

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick during a walk about in Brixton, south London

Sadiq Khan said two of the nine officers still serving after being caught up in the scandal have been promoted, while a 10th - a former officer - is still employed by the Met as a contractor in a staff role.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) took the unusual step of publishing the WhatsApp and Facebook messages, which were uncovered as part of a probe into behaviour within the Charing Cross team between 2016 and 2018.

14 officers were investigated as a result, with two found to have a case to answer for gross misconduct. One was sacked and another resigned before he would have been dismissed.

Asked if all of those involved should be sacked, Mr Khan said: "I think Londoners can't understand why nine of these 14 police officers are still serving.

"I've asked that question."