Cressida Dick: The string of scandals that left the Met chief no choice but to quit

10 February 2022, 21:26 | Updated: 11 February 2022, 09:32

Dame Cressida Dick has been criticised for a number of Met failings". (Top left Daniel Morgan, bottom right Sarah Everard)
Dame Cressida Dick has been criticised for a number of Met failings". (Top left Daniel Morgan, bottom right Sarah Everard). Picture: Alamy

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Dame Cressida Dick is stepping down as Metropolitan Police commissioner after the force became engulfed in scandals, saying she was left with "no choice" by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

Dame Cressida said on Thursday evening that she made the decision with "huge sadness".

She said "it is clear" that Mr Khan "no longer has sufficient confidence in my leadership to continue".

It comes amid a series of controversies which have engulfed the Met Police in recent months.

Before she became commissioner, Dame Cressida was in charge of the operation that led to the fatal shooting of Jean Charles De Menezes, who was wrongly identified as a potential suicide bomber.

READ MORE: 'It's wholly unfair': Met Federation chief defends Cressida Dick after resignation

READ MORE: Ex-Met Deputy Assistant Commissioner 'saddened' as Cressida Dick resigns

Murder of Sarah Everard

A Home Office inquiry is looking at the failures behind the rape and murder of Sarah Everard by a serving officer, Wayne Couzens.

The probe, headed by Dame Elish Angiolini, is investigating how the tragedy happened.

Speaking to LBC in December, Dame Cressida said she "regrets" the loss of trust in the force following the murder, but refused to accept that the force was failing.

She was confronted with an exclusive LBC poll which revealed 49% of people did not trust the Met and 23% actively distrust police.

Sarah Everard vigil

Dame Cressida is still resented by those caught up in the Sarah Everard vigil controversy.

Police broke it up and made arrests as it took place during Covid restrictions last year.

The force was heavily criticised for policing the sombre occasion for the murdered 33-year-old.

Daniel Morgan report

The Met chief last year refused to resign over accusations the force was institutionally corrupt for concealing or denying failings over the murder of Daniel Morgan.

She hit back at the findings from an inquiry into the 1987 unsolved murder as she defended Scotland Yard's work and her job.

The 1,251-page report by an independent panel set up in 2013 found multiple "very significant failings" during the initial investigation and a "form of institutional corruption" in the way it handled subsequent failed investigations.

The report found the Met's first objective was to "protect itself" for failing to acknowledge multiple errors since the murder.

Euro 2020 final

Policing of the Euro 2020 final at Wembley Stadium last year came under scrutiny after hundreds of ticketless England fans stormed the ground.

Dame Cressida defended officers during an LBC interview, saying she did "deeply regret" that people got in, but officers had helped stop "a far worse tragedy by showing great courage and bravery".

She said there were "appalling scenes of violence, of yobbery, drunkenness" with people "determined to force their way into Wembley" ahead of the England v Italy clash.

Insulate Britain

The Met Police was criticised for its handling of Insulate Britain demonstrations, being accused of being slow to deal with protesters who caused traffic chaos on major roads.

The force defended its actions, saying after one central London protest they can't wade in and "haphazardly yank" glued protesters off the ground.

Photos of murdered sisters

The mother of two murdered sisters whose bodies were photographed by Met Police officers criticised Dame Cressida's apology, saying she felt it was a "tick box" exercise.

Mina Smallman told LBC in November she was "sick of platitudes" as she called for an overhaul of the "rotten" force.

Two Metropolitan Police officers, PC Deniz Jaffer, 47, and PC Jamie Lewis, 33, admitted taking and sharing photographs of the murder scene of Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman in a park in Wembley.

They also admitted distributing the images over WhatsApp and superimposing one of their faces onto the pictures.

Handling of Partygate

Dame Cressida has also been attacked for the Met's initial resistance to investigating "Partygate", the affair that has engulfed Westminster.

As videos, photos and articles relating to alleged breaches of Covid rules during England's various coronavirus restrictions emerged, the Met said it would not look back at older claims.

But it later changed its stance, deciding it will now probe events on eight days between 2020 and 2021, and this week said it will begin contacting some 50 people over it.

The fact the force had to U-turn in the first place angered some.

Charing Cross report

Her force recently came under fire after the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), a police watchdog, uncovered a culture of racist abuse and jokes about rape and the Holocaust between some officers at Charing Cross police station in central London.

The IOPC said these "incidents are not isolated or simply the behaviour of a few bad apples" and the Met apologised over it.

However, of the 14 investigated, two were dismissed for gross misconduct and put on the barred list, preventing a return to policing, while another two resigned and several others faced disciplinary action, the IOPC said. Nine were still employed.