The head of London’s Metropolitan Police announced on Thursday she would step down after the capital’s mayor declared himself dissatisfied with her response to a series of scandals.
Dame Cressida Dick’s resignation followed a damning report last week by a police watchdog into a culture of sexism, racism and homophobia at the city-center Charing Cross police station.
Her departure also comes after criticism of the Met’s initial reluctance to investigate Downing Street and other government parties held during coronavirus restrictions.
Last year the Met was plunged into crisis when Wayne Couzens, a serving officer, abducted, raped and murdered 33-year-old Sarah Everard while she was walking home in south London.
London mayor Sadiq Khan said he had made it clear last week to Dick the scale of the change he believed was “urgently required” to rebuild the trust and confidence of Londoners in the Met, and to root out the “racism, sexism, homophobia, bullying, discrimination and misogyny ”that existed in the force.
“I am not satisfied with the commissioner’s response,” added Khan. “On being informed of this, Dame Cressida Dick has said she will be standing aside.”
Khan had said on Wednesday that Dick had “days and weeks” to devise a satisfactory turnround plan for the Met.
Dick, who has been head of the capital’s police force since 2017, said she was announcing with “huge sadness” that following contact with Khan it was clear he no longer had sufficient confidence in her leadership to continue.
“He has left me no choice but to step aside as a commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service,” she added.
Her resignation came hours after Dick had defended her record as a commissioner in a BBC interview, and insisted she would not resign.
She was recently confirmed in a new two-year term starting in April by home secretary Priti Patel and Khan.
Dick suggested Khan had last week expressed his full confidence in her: a version of events that officials close to the mayor rejected, saying he had rather endorsed her record in reducing violent crime in London.
She added she had agreed to stay on for a short period to ensure the force’s stability.
Khan said he would work with Patel, who appoints the Met commissioner jointly with the mayor, to finalize Dick’s successor.
Patel thanked Dick for her work as commissioner. “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. ”
Neil Basu, previously head of anti-terrorism operations at the Met, is seen as one possible contender to replace Dick.