Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick will leave her job in April before her successor is appointed in the summer, the Home Secretary has announced.
Dame Cressida quit in a surprise move last month but agreed to stay on until arrangements to find a replacement are finalised.
In a written statement to the Commons on Monday, Priti Patel also confirmed that the circumstances of Dame Cressida’s resignation will be reviewed by the outgoing chief inspector of constabulary Sir Tom Winsor.
She said: “Dame Cressida Dick will conclude her tenure as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service in April. She deserves our profound gratitude for her decades of public service and leadership in policing, as well as our best wishes for the future.
“Dame Cressida has shown exceptional dedication to fighting crime in London and beyond throughout her time as Commissioner, as the first woman to hold the role of Commissioner.
“The circumstances in which the outgoing MPS Commissioner is leaving her role warrant a closer look at the legislation which governs the suspension and removal of the Commissioner.
“I am pleased to announce that Sir Tom Winsor will be undertaking a formal review into the circumstances and implications of Dame Cressida’s departure.”
The Home Office said the review, to begin on April 1 and expected to finish by the summer, will aim to:
– Establish and assess the full facts, timeline of events and circumstances which resulted in the stepping aside of Dame Cressida;
– Consider whether due process was followed; and
– Include recommendations on how accountability and due process may be strengthened.
Dame Cressida quit after London mayor Sadiq Khan expressed his displeasure at her handling of outrage over racist, misogynist and homophobic messages shared by a group of officers based at Charing Cross police station.
Her resignation, which came hours after she said in a media interview she had no intention of quitting, was greeted with dismay by many officers.
Deputy commissioner Sir Steve House wrote to Ms Patel calling for a review of Dame Cressida’s treatment by Mr Khan, saying due process had not been followed.
Dame Cressida and City Hall had also disagreed over whether she should receive a payout and sign a gagging order, The Times reported, although it is understood Mr Khan insisted that she should be free to speak.
Sir Stephen will temporarily fill the role as head of the force until a permanent successor is found.
Ms Patel’s written statement added: “The Metropolitan Police Service faces major challenges and needs to demonstrate sustained improvements in order to regain public trust in London and nationally. It is vital that we get the right person for the biggest leadership role in policing in this country.
“I will shortly launch the process to recruit a new Commissioner and anticipate that it will conclude in the summer. I will then make my formal recommendation to Her Majesty the Queen. My recommendation will pay regard to the views of the mayor of London, as occupant of the mayor’s office for policing and crime.
“In the immediate term following Dame Cressida’s departure, legislation enables the deputy commissioner, Sir Steve House, to exercise temporarily the powers and duties of the Commissioner.
“Sir Steve and the mayor of London must drive improvement even before the next Commissioner is in place to ensure that the Metropolitan Police Service restores trust and takes every necessary action to keep the public safe.”
The Met’s reputation has been hit by a series of disturbing cases including the rape and murder of Sarah Everard by a serving police officer; two constables who shared pictures of the bodies of murder victims Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry on WhatsApp; the highly offensive Charing Cross messages; and most recently an inspectorate report that revealed 2,000 warrant cards have gone missing.
A spokesperson for the Mayor said: “Public trust in the Met Police is at the lowest level on record, following a series of devastating scandals including the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving police officer and the overt racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia and discrimination exposed at Charing Cross Police Station.
“It was against this backdrop that the Mayor lost confidence in the ability of the current Met Commissioner to lead the deep-rooted change needed.
“The Mayor is now working with the Home Secretary to appoint a new Commissioner who understands the depths of the problems faced by the force and has a plan to restore the trust and confidence of Londoners.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub