Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick is stepping down after a series of controversies.
The first woman to lead the Met, Dame Cressida said she was left with “no choice” but to resign after London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he had no confidence in her leadership.
It follows the publication of a damning report into racism, homophobia and misogyny at Charing Cross police station.
Dame Cressida has faced more than one call to quit since her appointment as commissioner in 2017.
The most high-profile case fracturing public confidence in the force - and her leadership - was the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving police office in March 2021, which sparked national outcry.
Two inquiries are now under way looking at the culture within the Met – one by Baroness Casey that was organised by the force itself, and a Home Office probe headed by Dame Elish Angiolini that is looking at the failures behind the rape and murder of Ms Everard by a serving officer.
So, which events have altered public opinion of the Met Police in Cressida Dick’s career?
The timeline of controversies facing Dame Cressida Dick
- July 2005 - Jean Charles de Menezes
Brazilian man Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead at Stockwell tube station in south London on 22 July, 2005 by an officer who mistook him for a terrorist.
Dame Cressida came under scrutiny as she was in charge of the operation that led to his death.
However, she was later absolved of any blame by a jury.
Appearing on Desert Island Discs in 2019, she described it as an “awful time”, adding: “I think about it quite often.”
“I wish, wish, wish it hadn’t happened, of course, but if anything it has made me a better leader, a better police officer and it has made me more resilient,” she said.
- December 2019 - Operation Midland
Dame Cressida was referred to the police watchdog over her handling of Operation Midland.
It was the name of the force’s investigation into false allegations of child sexual abuse by members of the ‘VIP’ British establishment between the 1970s and 1980s.
The inquiry, which commenced in 2014 finally collapsed in March 2016, cost £2.5m and ended without a single arrest.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct cleared her of allegations relating to the investigation, after they found no evidence that she had “deliberately misled the public”.
The Met also apologised to those wrongly targeted and paid compensation to them or their families.
- March 2021 - Sarah Everard
The kidnap, rape and murder of Ms Everard on 3 March, 2021 by a serving Metropolitan Police firearms officer, shocked the nation and is the subject of an independent inquiry.
Wayne Couzens used his warrant card and handcuffs to snatch the 33-year-old marketing executive off the street, using Covid lockdown rules to make a false arrest.
Following Couzens’ sentencing on 30 September, Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick faced fresh calls to resign over the case amid concerns around the safety of women.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said “serious questions’’ needed to be answered by the force but backed the police chief.
In the same month, Dame Cressida’s tenure was renewed for two more years, now until 2024.
Speaking outside the Old Bailey following Couzens’ sentencing, Dame Cressida said he had brought “shame” on the Met, adding: “I am so sorry.”
- March 2020 - Clapham Common vigil
Reclaim These Streets - who organised a vigil for Ms Everard on Clapham Common - has brought legal action against the force over its handling of the event.
The policing of the vigil that took place drew criticism from across the political spectrum after women were handcuffed on the ground and led away by officers.
The police watchdog found the force “acted appropriately” but added that it was a PR disaster.
The Met is defending the claim and argues there was no exception for protest in the coronavirus rules at the time and it had “no obligation” to assess the public health risk.
- June 2021 - Daniel Morgan
Daniel Morgan died in the car park of the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham, south-east London, on March 10 1987, and a string of unsuccessful investigations into his death have been mired with claims of corruption.
In June this year, an independent report accused the Met of institutional corruption over its handling of the case, saying it had concealed or denied failings to protect its reputation.
Dame Cressida apologised to Mr Morgan’s family, saying it was a “matter of great regret that no-one has been brought to justice and that our mistakes have compounded the pain suffered by Daniel’s family”.
- December 2021 - Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman
PCs Deniz Jaffer and Jamie Lewis, formerly of the Metropolitan Police, were jailed for two years and nine months each in December for taking photographs of the bodies of sisters Bibaa Henry, 46, and Nicole Smallman, 27, and sharing them with friends and colleagues on WhatsApp.
Jaffer and Lewis were assigned to guard the scene after the sisters were found dead in bushes in Fryent Country Park, Wembley, north-west London.
Instead, the officers moved from their posts to take photographs of the bodies, which were then shared with colleagues and friends on WhatsApp.
One was a “selfie-style” image on which Lewis had superimposed his face.
The officers’ behaviour also included describing the victims as “dead birds” on WhatsApp groups.
Afterwards, the Metropolitan Police apologised to the victims’ family for the defendants’ “shameful” and “utterly unprofessional” actions.
- January 2022 - Partygate
After weeks of frustration, confusion and double standards over alleged parties at Downing Street, Dame Cressida announced the Met Police had launched an investigation on Tuesday, 25 January.
The probe came after the Met faced significant pressure to explain how any gatherings were able to take place at a site with a heavy police presence.
Asked whether any officers had expressed concern about the parties, Dame Cressida said police officers on site at Downing Street concentrate on “protective security”.
In Sue Gray’s report, she detailed that the Met Police is looking into 12 out of 16 gatherings which allegedly took place between 15 May 2020 and 12 April 2021.
- February 2022 - IOPC report
Most recently, the police watchdog published concerning violent, racist, misogynistic and homophobic messages exchanged by officers based at Charing Cross police station between 2016 and 2018.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct revealed officers - whose team has been disbanded - made repeated jokes about rape, domestic violence, violent racism, and used homophobic language and derogatory terms for disabled people over Whatsapp and Facebook chats.
One officer bragged about having sex with a sex worker he met on duty.
Sadiq Khan put Dame Cressida “on notice” following the exposure of the messages, before eventually forcing her to resign by saying he had lost confidence in her leadership.
How much does Cressida Dick earn as Met Police commissioner?
She became the first woman to hold the post of commissioner in the almost 200 years since the force was formed.
Dame Cressida was appointed in 2017, returning to the force after having retired in 2015 to take a job with the Foreign Office.
When her appointment was announced it was reported she had been offered £270,648 plus benefits, which was the same her predecessor, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe.
However, she turned this down opting to be paid £40,000 less at £230,000 a year.
One of her first engagements after taking up the role was attending the funeral of PC Keith Palmer, who was killed during the Westminster terror attack.
Her contract as commissioner was extended last year until 2024 but after a string of high profile scandals and questions around the culture of the force, Dame Cressida resigned from the post.
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