'There's more I wish we'd achieved' - Dame Cressida Dick’s ‘letter to London’

The outgoing Metropolitan Police Commissioner says she is sad her time in the role is coming to an end. Credit: PA Images

The outgoing Metropolitan Police Commissioner says she is sad her time in the role is coming to an end.

In a 'letter to London', Dame Cressida Dick has reflected on the highs and lows of the past five years.

She announced she would leave the position in February, after the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he "no longer [had] sufficient confidence" in her leadership.

He said he was "not satisfied" with her response to a series of scandals that have engulfed her force.

Cressida Dick's letter in full

I have been privileged to lead the Metropolitan Police Service for the last five years. I will always look back on my time as Commissioner with pride for what has been achieved, with humility for when Londoners have been let down, and with huge confidence the changes we have been making will ensure you can be proud of the Met going forward. I leave with the fondest of memories of the fantastic people I’ve been lucky enough to work with.

When I first took this role I set out my priorities. I knew we had to focus on what matters most to Londoners, particularly tackling violence which has been far too prevalent – often having the worst impact on the most vulnerable.

We had to work more closely with others so we could collectively keep people safer and bring more offenders to justice.

Five years on, despite new and unexpected demands, grave tragedies and the toll of the pandemic I know we have made significant strides.

The Met is nearly 200 years old and remains a world class police service. Our original principles of policing by consent, operational independence and impartiality are still utterly fundamental.

Violence is down, our partnerships are strong and we are on course to achieve a step change in the number of crimes we solve. We have thousands more volunteers working with us, better ways of communicating with the public and higher levels of involvement by and engagement with our citizens in their police service.

Murders, shootings and stabbings are all down. These figures are not an accident. They are not repeated in other major UK cities. They are down because we, working with our partners and communities, drove them down and have brought ever more serious offenders to justice. I am confident the reductions will be sustained: violent and predatory people, drug dealers and those involved in county lines gangs and organised crime will find it much tougher to operate.

Dame Cressida Dick is stepping down Credit: PA Images

We have also learned lessons from the terrible terrorism we saw in 2017. In the last five years, counter terrorism policing and UK intelligence services have stopped 29 attacks.

We’ve innovated with our Counter Terrorism Operations Centre, a central London hub that brings together CT Policing’s core capabilities and our partners – both in London and at a national level – under one roof. We have invested in better modern technologies to make us more effective and able to do more for less cost.

But these successes, and so many others, are possible because of the brilliant, compassionate and courageous people of the Met, undertaking extraordinary work and caring deeply about the people, places, communities and victims they come to work to protect and serve.

We will soon grow to a record size with thousands more officers – and we’ve just surpassed our highest number ever with over 34,000 officers as of last month. These are additional officers that you’ll see in your neighbourhoods and keeping your town centres safe.

The Met is far more diverse and inclusive than it has ever been. It is a wonderful place to work and we need women and men of all backgrounds to join us and continue to make a difference.

Of course as I look back there is more I wish we had achieved.

We hear the criticism, know not everyone has confidence in us to provide a good service when they need us, and have seen among us those whose horrific actions have let you all, and us, down so terribly.

Each one drives us to get better, to root out those who don’t uphold our standards and don’t deserve to wear our uniform. To improve our response so all our communities feel protected by us.

We are listening and acting on what you tell us so we can change for the better. Just this week we launched our violence against women and girls plan, shaped by the views of hundreds of Londoners.

The current politicisation of policing is a threat not just to policing but to trust in the whole criminal justice system. Operational independence from local and central government is crucial for an effective democracy and is a model respected around the world. We must all treasure and protect it.

Now more than ever the mission of the Met is to keep this amazing, global, diverse capital city safe for everyone, to get back to basics, to improve, to innovate and make sure we bring offenders to justice.

On a personal level I’m sad my time in this great job is fast drawing to a close, however, I am extremely optimistic for the Met’s future. It is bigger, more diverse, more capable than ever.

My message to London is this: London is a safe city in so many ways. You have a fantastic police service. We all need the Met to be successful in keeping London safe and for the public to have confidence in our service. The 44,000 women and men of the Met care passionately about getting it right and always want to be here for you.