Emotional Sadiq Khan denies claims he forced Cressida Dick out of the Met

17 February 2022, 10:53 | Updated: 17 February 2022, 13:58

By Patrick Grafton-Green

An emotional Sadiq Khan today denied claims he forced former Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick out of the force.

The Mayor of London told James O'Brien during Speak to Sadiq: "That isn't the position. But I'm not going to hide my anger and disgust at these officers."

Mr Khan was referring to the officers who were the subject of a damning report into behaviour at Charing Cross police station.

James asked: "You didn't say sack these officers or go?"

Mr Khan replied: "No. I didn't."

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"It is not the case that the commissioner was given an ultimatum to sack them or she would be sacked," he reiterated.

It comes after a report in The Times said the mayor asked Dame Cressida to sack the officers at the centre of the scandal or face suspension herself.

She was said to have refused to do this and subsequently resigned.

Describing the timeline of events that led to her resignation, Mr Khan said the commissioner had written to him with her response to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) report.

He added: "I thought we would continue the conversation because those plans in that letter weren't enough. Then before we could meet last Thursday, the commissioner resigned."

He said, following the publication of the report, he believed "the current leadership didn't understand the scale of change required".

During his appearance on LBC on Thursday, Mr Khan also told James a Met Police Twitter account had shared information about him that was "misleading".

The verified Met Police Taskforce Twitter account earlier retweeted a tweet which read: "If the Mayor of London doesn't understand that the process for sacking officers is independent of chief constables... well that's a bit of a problem."

The account quote tweeted the original and added the words "exactly this".

Mr Khan said: "When you have Met Police accounts amplifying information that is misleading, how is it possible for officers concerned about behaviour or other officers to come forward?

"Why are we surprised when whistle-blowers don't come forward if this is the attitude both the IOPC talked about and you've exemplified in relation to a blue-ticked account?"

The mayor admitted the Met Police has "deep cultural issues", including "overt racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, discrimination".

He suggested there had been improvements in the force since he was a child, saying: "There are so many decent dedicated, brave officers. But there has got to be an acknowledgement that there are deep cultural issues.

"We are not talking about unconscious bias, we're not talking about unwitting prejudice. We're talking about overt racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, discrimination and the like."

"If you're a black Londoner, if you're a woman, how can you hand on heart say officers with these views aren't treating you differently?" he added.

He said victims of serious crimes including rape, sexual abuse and knife crime "are not coming forward because they don't trust the police". He said witnesses are also not coming forward in some cases.

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"Trust and confidence is crucial," he said, adding that is why it is important "to address the two issues I did raise with the commissioner, which is one, what are your urgent plans to address the cultural issues, to root out this overt racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia and the like?

"And, secondly, what are your urgent plans to restore the trust and confidence in Londoners that's been shattered? That's my job as the mayor."

Mr Khan said he would not back the Government's choice for the next commissioner if he does not have confidence in them to do the job.

"One of the things I have got to say to Londoners is I will not support the appointment of the next commissioner if I don't have confidence that he or she understands the importance of addressing these deep cultural issues," he said.

He also confirmed that he would be involved in the interview process for the next commissioner, who will appointed by Home Secretary Priti Patel.