By Simon Basketter
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2792

Top police boss Dick axed but rotten cops still in force

Met police boss Cressida Dick has been forced to resign yet her nasty institution remains
Issue 2792
Sacked Cressida Dick and home secretary Priti Patel in March 2021

Sacked Cressida Dick and home secretary Priti Patel (Picture: Flickr/ Number 10)

The resignation of Cressida Dick as boss of the Metropolitan Police is a reflection of a deepening crisis within the establishment.

Dick’s resignation leaves a vacuum at the top of Britain’s ­biggest police force. The organisation has reeled from self-inflicted crisis after crisis with a recent series of misconduct affairs.

Dick was appointed with great fanfare in 2017 as the first female leader of the Met. But her tenure was tainted by scandals. In the past year alone she has been forced to reluctantly apologise for the failure to stop cop Wayne Couzens before he raped and ­murdered Sarah Everard.

Dick has also sort of apologised for police officers photographing the bodies of murdered sisters Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry and sharing the images on WhatsApp. She failed to apologise after an independent panel found that the force was institutionally corrupt over the murder of Daniel Morgan. And she only half apologised over police failures that enabled serial killer Stephen Port to target young gay men.

This isn’t incompetence—it is form.

Dick recovered from overseeing the slaying of the innocent Jean Charles de Menezes in 2005, only to rise through the ranks to the top job. An inquiry in 2008 found the Met guilty of serious failings over the shooting. But Dick was exonerated.

Bizarrely the Met police ­commissioner is expected to stay on for two months to oversee the ­investigation into Downing Street parties. That will mean her replacement avoids having to stand over the whitewash—sorry, conclusion—which could decide Boris Johnson’s fate as prime minister.

Now after quitting the top job, Dick could receive more than £400,000. Dick is paid a salary of about £230,000 and signed up in September to serve a two-year extension to her original contract, which was due to expire this April.

She is entitled to be paid the full salary she would have received had she remained in post until the end of the contract in April 2024. This would mirror Sir Ian Blair, who received a £300,000 payout after being forced out in disgrace as Met commissioner in 2008. Dick will also have a pension pot in excess of £100,000 a year.

Arguments within the media are focussing on whether London mayor Sadiq Khan and home secretary Priti Patel were right or wrong to get rid of Dick. Most coverage ignores that both agreed to extend her contract. Partially, this was due to the lack of a successor.

Next in line could be “plain speaking” Manchester cop Stephen Watson who has complained that the cops are too “virtue signalling.” Or “no nonsense” recently cleared of bullying Simon Byrne from Northern Ireland. Or it could be someone else, but who heads up the Met will matter little.

Each new head comes in after the previous one leaves under a cloud. They promise changes and don’t deliver. The real problem lies with the fact that an institutionally racist, sexist, homophobic and corrupt force remains. It’s not just Dick that should go, but all cops.

Families of cops’ victims are glad to finally see her gone 

Alastair Morgan spent decades campaigning for justice for his brother Daniel, who was killed in a pub car park in Sydenham, south London, in the 1980s.

He said, “The first time I dealt with Cressida Dick was in 2012. Since then all she has done in relation to my family is just delay, obstruct and disappoint on a huge level.” His response to her resignation was, “About time. Sadiq Khan could have fired her last year when the panel report into my brother’s murder came out. 

“She obstructed throughout the whole process. When I saw all the other scandals I thought about how I had been dealing with this for 35 years, so I know what they are like. This is an organisation that for years—decades—has been out of control.  

“The main reason for that is the absolutely rotten oversight by the Home Office and other organisations—the complaints’ system, the political oversight. The whole show has been a mess for decades and this has led to the situation which we have now and, my God, it is going to be a job to tidy it up.” 

Asked whether he had faith that change could come to the Met, Alistair said, “No, if you want an honest answer. No.”

The cousin of Jean Charles De Menezes, Patricia Armani da Silva, said, “My feelings about this lady are very simple. I think she had to resign 16 years ago. “She made a big mistake 16 years ago and she has carried on making mistakes. Absolutely she has to resign.”

Armani da Silva believes responsibility for her cousin’s death lies with Dick “because she was in the controls, she was in the room, she sent the orders”. “I think it is a disgrace,” she added. “She had many chances to send orders to stop him, to arrest him.”

Ricky Waumsley, whose partner Daniel Whitworth was murdered by Stephen Port, said it was “about time” and that he hoped more resignations would follow. He said, “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.”

It goes on… 

Just half of cops, and people who work for them, that committed gross misconduct were sacked. This comes from a report by the police watchdog containing analysis over three years.

Out of 118 cases where the standards breach was proven by force disciplinary panels, only 55 led to sackings. The panels were held after the useless Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) found a case to answer for misconduct.

Out of 418 cases where the IOPC found a case to answer for misconduct, force disciplinary panels agreed misconduct had taken place in 148 cases and gross misconduct in 118.

Of the employees proven to have committed gross misconduct, 55 were sacked, 40 received written warnings, while four are recorded as “other”. The rest retired or resigned before their misconduct panel was heard, the IOPC reports say. Of the police employees where the lesser charge of misconduct was proven, 16 faced no further action.

…and on

Three Metropolitan Police colleagues of the rapist killer Wayne Couzens could face charges for sharing racist and misogynistic messages with him.

The CPS is considering action over discriminatory messages that were shared by serving officers with Couzens before his attack on Sarah Everard last year. Detectives discovered material on a WhatsApp group on an old phone used by the killer.

Cressida Dick Met career timeline 

2001—Dick returns to the Met as a commander and becomes the head of Operation Trident in 2003.

22 July 2005—Dick is the commander of Operation Kratos. In the aftermath of the 21 July London bombings she was gold commander in the room when the cops gunned down Jean Charles de Menezes. The 27-year-old Brazilian electrician was repeatedly shot in the head at Stockwell tube station by officers. The Met produced a series of lies about the killing. While the Met was found to have made catastrophic errors Dick was cleared of any “personal culpability”.

2011—Dick leaves the Met for an unexplained role in the Foreign Office.

22 February 2017—Dick becomes the first female head of the Met.

December 20190—Dick referred to the police watchdog over her handling of an investigation into allegations of child sexual abuse by members of the establishment. An investigation found no evidence that she had “deliberately misled the public”.

June 2020—Sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman are murdered in a north London park. The cops responded slowly and their bodies were found by family members. Two cops who were stationed at the crime scene were later jailed for taking photographs of the bodies and sharing them with friends and colleagues on WhatsApp.

March 2021—Dick’s handling of the murder of Sarah Everard by serving Met officer Wayne Couzens was a scandal. The Met attacked a vigil held for Everard, which resulted in arrests.

After the killer was sentenced in September 2021, the Met said that women who were worried about an officer approaching them could wave down a bus.

June 2021—The Met is described as “institutionally corrupt”. Dick is personally censured for obstruction by an independent inquiry set up to review the murder of the private detective Daniel Morgan in 1987.

January 2022—Dick is criticised for the Met’s initial failure to investigate alleged parties held at Downing Street during lockdown.

February 2022—It emerges that a Met officer disciplined after an inquiry into misogynistic and racist messages has since been promoted. Misconduct was proven against the unnamed officer after a watchdog inquiry into messages about hitting and raping women, which were shared by up to 19 officers at one station.

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