Cressida Dick given two-year extension as Met chief, despite backlash

10 September 2021, 13:47 | Updated: 10 September 2021, 14:17

Cressida Dick has been given another two years as commissioner of the Met Police.
Cressida Dick has been given another two years as commissioner of the Met Police. Picture: Alamy

By Joe Cook

Dame Cressida Dick will remain as Metropolitan Police commissioner for at least another two years after the Home Office confirmed they have extended her contract.

Home Secretary Priti Patel thanked the Met chief for "her service to date" and said the contract extension "will provide continuity and stability as we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic and recruit 20,000 additional police officers."

She continued: “Londoners know there is more to do to keep our capital safe, including by driving down violent crime, and I look forward to continuing to work with the Commissioner and Mayor of London to protect the public.”

Read more: Victims of police corruption call on PM to sack 'above the law' Cressida Dick

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Dame Cressida said she felt "immensely honoured and humbled" to be asked to continue in the role.

"I am proud to continue to serve my city," she said in a statement. "In the last four and a half years Met teams have dealt with some extraordinary challenges, including most recently in the pandemic, and delivered some fantastic results – critically in reducing violent crimes."

"Londoners have my word that I will keep working as hard as I can for them and for this wonderful city that I love. I take the responsibilities I have been entrusted with extremely seriously," she concluded.

The decision to keep Dame Cressida in the role until April 2024 comes despite a string of controversies that have rocked Scotland Yard and the commissioner in recent months.

Reports that a contract extension was in the pipeline were met by outrage from victims of police corruption, who wrote an open letter to Boris Johnson calling for Dame Cressida to be "properly investigated for her conduct".

The group said the Met chief should be replaced by someone outside of London "via a truly independent and transparent process".

They added: "We share a collective concern that the leadership of the Metropolitan Police Service will continue to act as though they are above the law and that the general public do not have a viable means of recourse."

Read more: Met Police chief urged to resign after 'deeply disturbing' handling of Sarah Everard vigil

However, on Thursday Mayor of London Sadiq Khan backed the commissioner, telling LBC he still had confidence in her to do "arguably the most difficult policing job in the world".

"People have got views about the commissioner and it is really important they are allowed to express those views. What I think it is not fair to do is for either the home secretary or myself to give a running commentary on what are personal issues."

The Met Police Federation, which represents more than 30,000 officers in London, has also backed the chief, describing her as "an ethical, courageous and highly competent police leader".

"We have worked with this Commissioner for a number of years now and believe she is still the best candidate for the role."

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Under Dame Cressida's tenure the Met Police was condemned for its "deeply disturbing" handling of the Sarah Everard vigil in March, with some calling for the police chief to resign immediately after.

A parliamentary inquiry later found the actions of the police on that night breached the public's "fundamental rights" to a peaceful protest.

Elsewhere, the force was found to be "institutionally corrupt" after the findings of a historic inquiry into the unsolved murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan in 1987 were published.

But Dame Cressida said she did not accept the conclusion and had "no intention of resigning" following the accusations.