Cressida Dick has acknowledged that the Metropolitan Police Service she leads has “a problem” with “too much very bad behaviour” in the ranks which she is “absolutely determined” to address and was adamant that she has “absolutely no intention” of stepped down from her job.
Speaking to BBC Radio London’s Eddie Nestor, Dick insisted that she is already getting to grips with incidents of misconduct and general lack of professional standards following a string of revelations relating in particular to attitudes to women, which she accepted have seen the Met’s “reputation tarnished”.
She warned errant officers, “If you have those attitudes or behaviours, get out now, otherwise we will find you,” and said she has assembled “a whole new team which will be helping me root out individuals” and “dysfunctional or toxic teams”.
Dick’s appearance on the programme follows Sadiq Khan saying he has put her “on notice” about tackling misogyny and other prejudices among officers and stating yesterday that he is prepared to “take action” if the commissioner’s response to examples of “racist, sexist, misogynistic, homophobic, antisemitic, Islamophobic” views found among officers at Charing Cross police station and elsewhere did not satisfy him.
The Mayor’s role, which includes being London’s elected police and crime commissioner, does not have the power to fire the Met chief, which resides with the Home Secretary, but should he conclude that Dick ought to leave precedent suggests she would have little choice about going. When Boris Johnson as London Mayor told the then commissioner in Ian Blair in July 2018 that he did not have his confidence, Blair resigned.
The commissioner emphasised today that she has already brought in crossbench peer Louise Casey to conduct an independent review of the Met’s culture and standards in the wake of the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by Wayne Couzens, who was a Met officer at the time of the offences last March. Responding to the killer’s whole-life sentencing in September Dick said she recognised that “a precious bond of trust has been damaged” between the Met and the public.
Casey was appointed in October to examine vetting, training and recruitment practices and at the time was expected to take six months to complete her work. Dick spoke today of Casey’s “fearsome reputation” and freedom to go independently “anywhere she likes in the Met and make recommendations to me about what needs to change in relation to our culture and our standards”.
Dick said Casey’s advice would be on top of “a real transformation in the Met” she believed she had been leading since her appointment in 2017. She declared herself “absolutely certain” that the service has become “more professional, fairer, more transparent, more accountable and closer to its communities and more effective in, for example, reducing violent crime which has been going down year on year on year in almost every category, bucking the national trend.”
Reminding listeners that her job contract had been extended by two years last autumn, Dick disclosed that she had “sat at a meeting” with Khan and Home Secretary Priti Patel three weeks ago and said that during this “the Mayor said he had never had more confidence in the Met’s ability to deliver”.
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