Cressida Dick: All the times the Met Police boss got it wrong 3 months ago

Cressida Dick: All the times the Met Police boss got it wrong

After a few tough years, the Met Commissioner is stepping down

Dame Cressida Dick is leaving her role as head of the Met Police after presiding over a litany of scandals.

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Last week, the Mayor of London had put the Metropolitan Commissioner "on notice" after the police watchdog published messages sent by officers that showed evidence of bullying, violence towards women, homophobia and perverting the course of justice.

In a statement on Thursday, Sadiq Khan said he was "not satisfied" with Dame Cressida's response to the police watchdog's report, and as a result, she will be standing down.

Cressida Dick has made herself rather unpopular over the years. She's faced repeated calls to resign since taking the top job in 2017 and has been heavily criticised on multiple occasions during her decades-long policing career.

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So what else has Dick done wrong?

1)  Delaying the report into the Downing Street parties 

Last Tuesday, the Met was forced into an embarrassing climbdown over Downing Street Parties - launching an investigation into allegations of lockdown breaches in Number 10, having previously told the public it wasn't policy to undertake retrospective investigations.

Throughout the week Scotland Yard insisted it had not refused publication of the long-awaited report from Gray, but in a u-turn on Friday ordered the Cabinet Office to limit the scope of its report - which could mean the public will not be privy to vital details about the alleged lockdown breaches.

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Read more: Former chief prosecutor brands Met decision to limit Sue Gray report 'absolute nonsense'

2) The tube station shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes

A memorial to Jean Charles de Menezes in Stockwell, south London. Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images
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On 22 July 2005, the day after the 7/7 bombings, an innocent man was shot at Stockwell tube station.

Cressida Dick was Gold Commander in charge of the operation that wrongly identified Jean Charles de Menezes as a potential suicide bomber.

A subsequent inquiry found a string of errors had led to his death but acquitted Dick. In 2017, the de Menezes family's calls that Dick not be considered for commissioner were ignored.

3) Heavy-handed policing at the Sarah Everard vigil

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In March last year, Met police officer Wayne Couzens abducted and murdered Sarah Everard in a case that outraged Britain.

It later emerged that Couzens, who used his police warrant card to stop Everard near her home in Clapham Common, had been nicknamed "the rapist" by colleagues and had faced previous allegations of indecent exposure. Couzens past led many to question police vetting systems and how a potential sex offender had gone unnoticed on Dick's watch.

The subsequent police handling of a vigil sparked a fresh wave of criticism. Women were arrested and pinned down during a peaceful outdoor meet-up, in which many were pictured holding candles in homage to Everard. Alarming footage of the arrests, again led to calls for Dick to resign.

Labour MP Harriet Harman told Dick women's confidence in the police "will have been shattered" and asked her to resign to enable changes to be made and for women "to have justified confidence in the police".

She refused, arguing “What has happened makes me more determined, not less, to lead my organisation."

4) Obstructing the truth - the Daniel Morgan report

The long-awaited inquiry into the 1987 murder of Daniel Morgan, who was found dead in a south London pub car park, found Dick had personally hampered efforts to get to the truth.

The report, released in June 2021, found the Met was "institutionally corrupt" and personally named the Commissioner as one of those responsible for obstructing the truth. It's understood the officers involved had failed to co-operate in a timely manner, in a bid to protect the reputation of the force.

No one has been convicted of the killing.

4) Black Lives Matter protests

Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

In June 2020, following the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, tens of thousands of people took to the streets of London, protesting against systemic racism.

Tensions flared after police horses were seen charging into the peaceful protest. One horse bolted into a set of traffic lights, knocking into a protestor and seriously injuring a female police officer.

In September Black Lives Matter protestors gathered outside New Scotland Yard, protesting the treatment of black people at the hands of the Met. Dick dismissed any suggestion that officers unfairly target black people - leading the campaign group to call for her resignation.

5) Rising teenage murders

Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images

On New Year's Eve, a 16-year-old boy died after being stabbed in west London, making him the 30th teenage homicide in the capital in 2021, surpassing a record of 29 set in 2008.

Despite pledging it was her "number one priority" to tackle knife crime, Dick oversaw the bloodiest year on record.

Speaking on LBC's Nick Ferrari, Dick said she believed “we are absolutely doing the right things in policing and we are suppressing a great deal of the violence".

6) Operation Midland muck-up

Between 2014 and 2016, fantasist Carl Beech alleged he had been a child victim of a Westminster paedophile ring. Despite intense criticism the Met insisted it was right to pursue the claims, causing immense distress to the accused perpetrators. Then-assistant police commissioner, Dick oversaw the collapse of Operation Midland, and Beech was jailed for 18 years for multiple counts of lying and one of fraud justice in 2019.

Ex-Conservative MP Harvey Proctor, on receiving a six-figure payout from the Met, said “Cressida Dick failed abjectly in her duty and should resign.”

He added: “It will take a very long time, if ever, for me to personally have confidence in the Metropolitan Police Service.”

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