A London Labour MP has called for the resignation of Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick following the release of a report into misconduct at Charing Cross police station which revealed numerous Met officers made jokes about rape and assaulting their wives.
Stella Creasy, the MP for Walthamstow, said Dick should go during a discussion about the implications of the report on the BBC’s Politics London programme, saying she “just cannot see how Cressida Dick can lead us out of this situation” amid a collapse of confidence in the Met among women in London.
“How many more incidents do there have to be before we recognise that there is an institutional challenge with the Metropolitan Police when it comes to misogyny and violence against women?” Creasy asked. She described the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by Wayne Couzens, who was a serving Met officer at the time of his crimes, as a “watershed moment” but stressed many other examples of “a culture within the police that has to be addressed”.
Creasy argued that “a corrosion of confidence amongst women about the Metropolitan Police” has created a need for “fresh leadership” to address it and described the Met under Dick’s leadership as “some of the strongest opponents” of the campaign Creasy supports to have misogyny included in hate crime legislation.
The report by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) came out of an investigation that began in March 2018 following allegations that an officer had sex at the station with someone who was drunk. It discovered numerous cases of bullying and racist and homophobic so-called “banter” in phone messages.
The IOPC said the incidents were not isolated and the organisation’s regional director for London, Sal Naseem, described the behaviour as “disgraceful”. Sadiq Khan described himself as “utterly disgusted” and said he had put Dick “on notice” after a lengthy meeting with her in which he expressed his concerns. It is reported that Dick has since written to over 43,000 officers and staff warning them about “poor conduct and nasty and inappropriate behaviour”.
Although the Mayor is police and crime commissioner for the capital, the formal power to sack the Commissioner lies with the Home Secretary. However, in 2008 the then Commissioner Ian Blair felt he had no choice but to resign after the Mayor of the time, Boris Johnson, told him he thought he should go.
On London is a small but influential website which strives to provide more of the kind of journalism the capital city needs. Become a supporter for £5 a month or £50 a year and receive an action-packed weekly newsletter and free entry to online events. Details here.