By Isabel Ringrose
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2798

Cressida Dick will go early—but Met will remain corrupt and oppressive to the core

Sir Stephen House, who was effectively sacked as Scotland’s police chief, will take temporary charge of the Met
Issue 2798
Yellow hi-vis jacket with Met Police illustrating story about Cressida Dick leaving the top job

The Met police has an appalling record of racism and sexism

Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick will stand down sooner than expected, after she handed in her resignation in February. She was expected to continue until a replacement could be found, but will now leave in April.

Dick’s deputy and former Police Scotland chief constable Sir Stephen House will take temporary charge of the Met. 

He was effectively sacked as head of Police Scotland. House stood down as Scotland’s police chief in 2015 amid a series of issues where ordinary people attacked police failures and behaviour. This included the stop and search policy—something the Met has been caught up in in recent weeks over the Child Q scandal. 

He bitterly resigned from the post following the deaths of Lamara Bell and John Yuill after a crash off the M9 motorway. A call to the police was ignored, and the two were not discovered until three days later by a member of the public.

Bell was still alive, but died in hospital four days after. Police Scotland later admitted their failings “materially contributed” to her death. It paid a £100,000 fine and more than £1 million in compensation to Bell’s family.

In a written statement to the House of Commons on Monday, home secretary Priti Patel said House “must drive improvement” to ensure the Met “restores trust”. But no new commissioner can pull the Met out of its crises. Chiefs come and go, bringing scandals and controversy with them. The force they oversee remains institutionally corrupt, racist, sexist and homophobic to its core. A recruitment process for the next commissioner now begins, as Patel looks to appoint a new boss by the summer.

Dick’s eventual resignation came after it was revealed she failed to handle disgraceful hate messages between officers, two of which were later promoted. Last September she was given a two year extension by London mayor Sadiq Khan and Patel. She was expecting a pay off of £480,000 to cover the remainder of her contract, which City Hall claims she is now not entitled to. Dick also claims that City Hill demanded she sign a gag clause to stop her speaking out about her leadership.

These clashes with Khan’s office have been reported as the reason for her early departure. Khan and Patel are now bickering among themselves over who is to blame—and who has the power to hire and fire Met commissioners.

Patel is set this week to announce a review by Sir Tom Winsor, now former chief inspector of constabulary, into Dick’s resignation. Winsor praised Dick after Sarah Everard’s murder and the horrific attacks by police on women at a vigil to remember her.

During her five year reign over Britain’s biggest police force, Dick survived scandal after scandal. Even before her promotion to the top job, Dick was the officer in charge when Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead in 2005 after being wrongly identified as a terrorist.

She defended the Met during the institutional corruption outcome following Daniel Morgan’s murder inquiry. And after the kidnapping, rape and murder of Everard, and the murders of four gay men following police failings. 

Anyone singing Dick’s praises should remember her victims—it is good Dick is gone. But she has been temporarily replaced by another cop mired in corruption, who is sure to be replaced by another repulsive figure. The Met and police will continue to repress, bully and kill in defence of the state.

Sign up for our daily email update ‘Breakfast in Red’

Latest News

Make a donation to Socialist Worker

Help fund the resistance