Cressida Dick given 'days and weeks' to clean up Met racism and misogyny or she's out

9 February 2022, 10:24 | Updated: 10 February 2022, 19:21

Cressida Dick has come under fire over the report
Cressida Dick has come under fire over the report. Picture: Alamy

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick has "days and weeks" to save her job after a report found racism and misogyny in the force, Sadiq Khan has said.

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The Mayor of London put the commissioner "on notice" last week after a police watchdog uncovered a culture of "disgusting" rape threats, racist abuse and vile jokes about the holocaust among a group of officers at Charing Cross police station.

Mr Khan told LBC today: "The reason I am so angry and disgusted at the revelations at Charing Cross is these aren't isolated, these aren't historic.

"They affect 14 police officers, nine of whom are still working, I'm still waiting for the Commissioner to come back to me, I meet her regularly so I'm sure I'll be seeing her later on this week."

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He added: "She'll come back to me with a response to the two big questions that I've put to the Commissioner.

"What are your plans to urgently address issues of racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, anti-Semitism and the like.

"Secondly, what are your immediate plans to win back the trust and confidence particularly amongst those Londoners who’ve had their confidence knocked and some shattered by the actions of the police."

He also told the BBC Dame Cressida had "days and weeks" to come up with the plans.

The police watchdog said a series of investigations had found evidence of bullying and a shocking culture of racist abuse and misogyny within the ranks of the Metropolitan Police at the central London station.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it believed the "incidents are not isolated or simply the behaviour of a few bad apples".

Mr Khan added it was "possible to recognise how brilliant our police can be, how brave they can be, but also accept there are serious problems in relation to what the IOPC report showed".

He promised to tell Londoners what his reponse to the Commissioner is when she gets back to him.

He said: "Let's wait and see what she says, I do believe in due process, I set these challenges for the Commissioner and she will come back to me in due course and give her response."

He added: "Because I am so concerned about Londoners not having trust and confidence in the police service they should have I want to be as much transparent as possible because I want to win back the trust and confidence that's been lost."

Operation Hotton began in March 2018 and found text and WhatsApp messages between officers which were highly sexualised, discriminatory or referred to violence, which they tried to defend as "banter".

An investigation discovered numerous messages about rape and 'raping' each other, with one officer sending messages saying "I would happily rape you" to a female colleague.

One police officer was referred to as "mcrapey raperson" in a WhatsApp exchange.

When colleagues were asked to explain the nickname, they said there were rumours about him bringing a woman back to the police station for sex. Another colleague said he thought the nickname related to "harassing" women.

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Officers also joked about attending a festival dressed as known sex offenders.

The investigation also found evidence of discriminatory and offensive behaviour and messages being shared.

Black and Asian police officers spoke of being ostracised and investigators uncovered messages mocking non-Christian religions, the Black Lives Matter movement, people with disabilities, racism and homophobia.

One remark uncovered was a vile anti-Semitic joke about killing flies.

Labour's Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, said the Home Office had to take responsibility for ensuring standards are met across the force.

She said: "This kind of abuse, racism, misogyny, bullying and disrespect is a disgrace and should never have any place within policing, where the highest standards must always be maintained. It must be rooted out swiftly wherever it is found.

"While the IOPC has made important and welcome recommendations and some action has been taken, this does not go far enough.

"There needs to be action by police forces to ensure that training and vetting are improved, that a strong culture of respect is always maintained, and that the use of social media is reviewed and, where necessary, overhauled."

She added that the Home Office "must not stand back and leave it to individual forces".

"Ministers need to take responsibility for ensuring the highest standards are always met across policing and must ensure the College of Policing and police forces work together on the action needed," she said.

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