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

10 February 2022, 20:50 | Updated: 11 February 2022, 06:24

Dame Cressida Dick resigns: LBC Correspondent Matthew Thompson provides latest

By Emma Soteriou

The chairman of the Met Police Federation has said officers are saddened that Commissioner Cressida Dick has stepped down from her role, saying the way she was treated was "wholly unfair".

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It comes as the Commissioner has been under mounting pressure to leave her position after several failures in the force during her run, the latest being over a report which found racism and misogyny in the Met.

She said she felt "huge sadness" that London Mayor Sadiq Khan had lost confidence in her, adding that she was incredibly proud of her team "and all they have achieved".

In response to the announcement, chairman of the federation Ken Marsh said: "We are deeply saddened by the resignation of our commissioner.

"She was much loved across the rank and file of the Metropolitan Police Service.

"We feel the way she has been treated is wholly unfair and we did believe that she was the person who could take us through this and bring us out the other side."

He added in a statement: "This is of course a challenging time for the Metropolitan Police Service.

"But policing and police officers are an easy target for critics who have never spent a day in our shoes or dealt with the daily challenges we face.

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"Whilst the Federation did not always agree with Commissioner Cressida Dick, we think she was doing a good job in difficult circumstances.

"She genuinely cares about London, its citizens and, importantly from our perspective, her officers and their families.

"Her removal leaves a void in the leadership of London and UK policing at what is a critical time. Cressida Dick should have been given the opportunity and the necessary time to build back trust in the Metropolitan Police Service. She has been denied that. She should have been treated better.

"We will now, like all Londoners, await to see who politicians deem fit to lead the Metropolitan Police Service in 2022 and beyond. And to see who is willing to take up that challenge."

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However, others have welcomed Dame Cressida's resignation, with Ricky Waumsley, whose partner Daniel Whitworth was murdered by serial killer Stephen Port, saying it was "about time" and that he hoped more resignations would follow.

"She had clung on to that position so tight when, all around her, the officers she was in charge of have been racist, homophobic and sexist," he said.

Mr Waumsley had called for her to quit in December after an inquest jury found police failures had likely contributed to the deaths of Mr Whitworth, as well as two other victims of Port - known as the Grindr Killer.

The inquests into the four deaths revealed that officers failed to carry out basic evidence gathering such as examining Port's laptop, testing DNA on bedsheets on which two of the bodies were found, and checking the veracity of a fake suicide note found with Mr Whitworth's body.

Seventeen officers were investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), and nine were found to have performance failings - none of whom lost their jobs, and five of whom have since been promoted.

"When I was let down by the Met police because of their blatant homophobia towards the four victims that Stephen Port killed, and the inquest concluded that the Met failures 'probably' contributed to their deaths, I held Cressida accountable for these failures and made a statement that she should 'resign with immediate effect'," said Mr Waumsley.

"So I am glad.

"This will be a small justice for the four victims and I hope more resignations within the Met police will come."

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Twitter: "Dame Cressida has served her country with great dedication and distinction over many decades. I thank her for her role protecting the public and making our streets safer."

Meanwhile, Home Secretary Priti Patel praised Ms Dick's "steadfast dedication" in the role.

She said in a statement: "I'd like to thank Dame Cressida for the nearly four decades of her life that she has devoted to serving the public, latterly as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

"She would be the first to say that she has held the role during challenging times; yet for nearly five years she has undertaken her duties with a steadfast dedication to protecting our capital city and its people - including during the unprecedented period of the pandemic.

"Leading the Met has also involved driving our national counter terrorism capability at a time of multiple threats while as the first woman to hold the post, she has exemplified the increasingly diverse nature of our police and demonstrated that all can aspire to hold leadership roles in policing in this country today."

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Labour's Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper MP backed Mr Khan's crack down on the top cop.

"The Mayor of London is right to insist on reforms to the Metropolitan Police and he has shown leadership in addressing this," she said.

"I thank Cressida Dick for her many years of public service including her work on counter-terrorism and tackling violence in the capital.

"Reforms are needed to rebuild public confidence in the Metropolitan Police after recent cases. Every day the police do incredibly important work, in London and across the country to keep us all safe and trust in that good work must not be undermined by cultural failures or delays in tackling officers who abuse their positions.

"This isn't just an issue for London - the Home Secretary must support reforms to raise standards across the country to support the essential work the police do."

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Ex-Met Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stephen Roberts told LBC: "I'm shocked and saddened.

"I think it's an absolute disgrace what seems to have happened.

"I'm afraid this is a case of politicians wanting a quick fix for something that needs fixing but can't be fixed quickly.

"Cressida [Dick] seems to be taking the blame for a situation which politicians needed to have solved and should have solved by getting rid of the Prime Minister."

Former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone told LBC's Iain Dale: "I'm very disappointed because I think Cressida's been a really good administration over London's police."

He suggested that heads should turn to politicians instead of the head of the force.

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The revelation follows several warnings from London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who previously told LBC that Ms Dick had "days and weeks" to come up with plans to correct "historic" revelations from the police watchdog.

She was put "on notice" after being embroiled in the controversy.

However, Ms Dick told LBC on Thursday that she had "absolutely no intention" of quitting as top cop.

She had also come under fire for the force's handling of the Partygate scandal as well as the murder of Sarah Everard by a police officer.