Head of London police resigns after string of scandals
LONDON (AP) — The head of London’s Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, said she is resigning Thursday after a string of controversies that undermined public confidence in the force and prompted a falling out between her and the capital’s mayor.
Mayor Sadiq Khan had recently threatened to oust Dick from her role, saying she wasn’t doing enough to reform the Metropolitan Police, Britain’s largest police force, and tackle growing accusations of misogyny and racism within her ranks.
Khan said late Thursday it was clear the only way to overhaul the force urgently was to have “new leadership right at the top of the Metropolitan Police.”
Dick, who has headed the force since 2017 and is the first woman to lead Scotland Yard, said it was with “huge sadness” that it has become clear that Khan “no longer has sufficient confidence in my leadership to continue.”
“He has left me no choice but to step aside as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service,” she said in a statement.
Dick, 61, added that she will stay in her role for a short period to ensure the force’s stability while a replacement is found.
A report last week by the Independent Office for Police Conduct, the police watchdog, condemned misogyny, bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment among a dozen officers, most of them based in central London’s Charing Cross police station.
The report cited officers joking about rape and using other offensive language in social media messages, and said the incidents were part of a wider culture that can’t be blamed on a few “bad apples.”
Khan said last week he was “not satisfied” with Dick’s response to calls for change following scandals including the killing of a woman by a serving police officer and the behavior of officers cited by the police watchdog.
“Last week, I made clear to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner the scale of the change I believe is 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 still exists,” Khan said.
He thanked Dick for her 40 years of policing service.
Dick faced intense pressure to quit last year after a police officer, Wayne Couzens, was convicted of kidnapping, raping and murdering a woman, Sarah Everard, who was walking home at night in London. Everard’s slaying by a serving officer shocked the nation, and the police force’s subsequent handling of vigils and protests against Everard’s slaying also came under heavy fire.
Dick acknowledged Thursday that the Everard case and others had “damaged confidence” in her force.