Cressida Dick: Priti Patel and Sadiq Khan clash as Met Police chief resigns
The Home Secretary and Mayor of London have clashed over the departure of Dame Cressida Dick after she was forced out as Metropolitan Police Commissioner on Thursday.
Dame Cressida quit after losing the support of Sadiq Khan over her plan to reform the force following a string of scandals and accusations of a toxic working culture.
It is understood the Met chief was called to a meeting with the Mayor at 4.30pm on Thursday over the reforms but declined to attend and offered her resignation instead, catching the Home Office by surprise.
According to Home Office sources, Ms Patel was not impressed by this and thought it was “rude and unprofessional”.
Ms Patel will oversee the appointment of the new commissioner and more details on how she will set about searching for a replacement are expected to be confirmed in due course.
She has final decision on the next appointment, although the process requires her to consult Mr Khan as Mayor, who said he would be “working closely” with the Home Secretary to find a successor.
The Met, which was heavily criticised for an apparent hesitation to launch a probe into the alleged Downing Street parties, said the investigation continues as normal and remains under the control of Commander Catherine Roper.
Dame Cressida has faced a series of scandals during her time leading Britain’s biggest police force – most recently concerning violently racist, misogynist and homophobic messages exchanged by officers based at Charing Cross police station that were published by a watchdog.
And there was fury over the rape and murder of Sarah Everard by a serving officer, as well as the force’s actions following her death in tackling a vigil held in her memory during coronavirus restrictions, and issuing clumsy advice telling women in trouble to flag down a passing bus that later had to be retracted.
Rank and file officers reacted with sadness to her departure, with the chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation Ken Marsh protesting she had been treated unfairly.
Mr Marsh told PA: “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.”
But 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.
Harriet Wistrich, director of the Centre for Women’s Justice (CWJ) charity, said: “There were far too many stories of officers accused of violence and abuse still in their jobs and of whistle-blowers victimised instead of listened too.
“Cressida Dick’s response to these series of stories has been wholly inadequate and her description of Wayne Couzens as a ‘wrong un’ meaningless next to the mounting evidence of multiple allegations of abuse and policing failures to tackle violence against women and racism.”
Reporting via PA.
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