The Metropolitan Police has insisted Dame Cressida Dick’s resignation as commissioner of the force will not delay the investigation into the “partygate” scandal that has engulfed No 10.
Dick – the first woman to become the UK’s top cop – dramatically stepped down yesterday (February 10) after London mayor Sadiq Khan accused her of failing to deal with a toxic culture within the force.
“The investigation [into lockdown parties in Downing Street] is continuing,” a Met source told the Guardian in the fallout from Dick’s dramatic resignation.
It came just hours after the Met commissioner said she had “absolutely no intention” of quitting as head of the Met and had a plan to transform the force.
However, that was clearly insufficient for London’s mayor and in a statement Khan said: “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.
“I am not satisfied with the commissioner’s response.”
The mayor said “the only way to start to deliver the scale of the change required is to have new leadership right at the top of the Metropolitan police.”
Khan added that he will work with home secretary Patel to appoint a new Met commissioner ”so that we can move quickly to restore trust in the capital’s police service while keeping London safe.”
However, The Times reports that Patel “is furious that the mayor did not tell her he was withdrawing support from Dick and effectively forcing her out”, with Home Office sources calling Khan “rude and unprofessional” for not informing the home secretary.
Dick’s resignation follows series of scandals
Cressida Dick became the first woman to lead the Met in the force’s 193-year history and had been due to step down after five years in charge in April this year. However, home secretary Priti Patel – with the backing of Khan – controversially extended Dick’s contract until 2024 in September last year.
Dick’s resignation comes just three weeks after she announced a criminal inquiry into lockdown parties in Downing Street and Whitehall. That decision has delayed publication of the full Gray report and further damaged the reputation of the Met police. The force has been rocked by a wave of scandals that has raised questions about the leadership and culture of the force.
These include the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard by a serving police officer and the Met’s handling of a vigil for her. Two officers have also been jailed for sharing photos of two murdered sisters, Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry on WhatsApp.
Last week fresh outrage followed the publication of report revealing shocking behaviour at Charing Cross police station. Details from social media messages between Met officers included references to rape and violence against women as well as racist and homophobic abuse, bullying, harassment and discrimination.
‘One resignation doesn’t mean the police have solved their misogyny problem’
“Cressida Dick presided over an institution that saw police officers displaying misogynistic behaviour and committing horrific acts of violence against women, time and time again,” said Ruth Davison, interim chief executive of the domestic abuse charity Refuge.
“But one resignation at the top doesn’t mean the police have solved their misogyny problem. The police service in this country needs root and branch reform.”
In a statement Dick said she was stepping down “with huge sadness” after it became “clear that the Mayor 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,” which Dick said has been “the greatest honour and privilege of my life.”
Dick remains in post until her successor is appointed.