Dame Cressida Dick's last day with Met Police confirmed

Met Commissioner Cressida Dick will leave her role NEXT weekend and controversial Scottish deputy – who vowed to crack down on Extinction Rebellion – will take over

  • The embattled Metropolitan Police Commissioner will finally step down April 10
  • Priti Patel confirmed Sir Stephen House will cover role until a successor is found 
  • Sir Stephen, Police Scotland’s former top cop, quit amid controversy in 2015 

Dame Cressida Dick has confirmed the date she will finally step down from the Metropolitan Police after a string of recent scandals forced her to quit.

The Mayor’s Office for Police and Crime has agreed that Dame Cressida’s last day in post will be Sunday April 10. 

Dame Cressida announced her resignation in February after Mr Khan’s aides indicated that he had no confidence in her ability to shake-up her force after a series of scandals, including murder of Sarah Everard by serving officer Wayne Couzens. 

The embattled Police Commissioner, 61, will step down for good later this month and be succeeded by Deputy Commissioner Sir Stephen House, who is expected to take over the Partygate probe into events in Westminster during lockdown. 

Priti Patel confirmed Sir Stephen, Police Scotland’s former Chief Constable, will lead the force during its most torrid time in recent memory until a successor is appointed in the summer.

Sir Stephen had his own career mired in controversy after it was claimed he was effectively forced out of Police Scotland after a botched investigation into a car crash saw a woman left inside the debris of her vehicle for three days before being found alive – despite a member of the public alerting the police.  

Police Scotland was eventually fined £100,000 for health and safety failures over the fatal crash in September. They also paid £1 million compensation to Ms Bell’s family. 

Further criticism came his way in the wake of Police Scotland’s policy on firearms and their officers’ use of stop and search.  

In the past, Sir Stephen has reserved strong words for Extinction Rebellion’s eco warrior protestors, telling MPs their tactics were ‘a flipping nuisance’.   


The embattled Police Commissioner (left) will step down for good on April 10 and be succeeded by Deputy Commissioner Sir Stephen House (right)

Sir Stephen had his own career mired in controversy after it was claimed he was effectively forced out of Police Scotland after a botched investigation into a car crash saw a woman left inside the debris of her vehicle for three days before being found alive

Further criticism came his way in the wake of Police Scotland’s policy on firearms and their officers’ use of stop and search. In the past, he has reserved strong words for Extinction Rebellion’s eco warrior protestors, telling MPs their tactics were ‘a flipping nuisance’

Sir Steve House: Who is the Met’s new top cop? 

Dame Cressida Dick will be succeeded by Deputy Commissioner Sir Stephen House, who is expected to take over the Partygate probe into events in Westminster during lockdown.

Sir Stephen, Police Scotland’s former Chief Constable, had his own career mired in controversy after it was claimed he was effectively kicked out of the force after a botched investigation into a car crash saw a woman left inside her vehicle for three days before being found alive. 

Sir Stephen House

Lamara Bell and John Yuill lay in their car for three days despite a member of the public calling Police Scotland’s non-emergency line to report a damaged vehicle. Miss Bell was still alive when emergency services finally arrived, but later died in hospital. 

Police Scotland was eventually fined £100,000 for health and safety failures over the fatal crash last September. 

He stood down and retired in 2015 following the incident, but it was later claimed he was effectively sacked by Nicola Sturgeon over the incident, her former aide Noel Dolan wrote in a bombshell book last year. 

Sir Stephen has also faced criticism from Lib Dem MP and former police officer Wendy Chamberlain, who told the Evening Standard he was a ‘completely unsuitable’ candidate to lead the Met. 

‘After so many scandals, the Met desperately needs strong new leadership to rebuild public trust.

‘Putting it in the hands of someone who left his own trail of scandals in Police Scotland is not the way to do that.’

Home Secretary Priti Patel has since promised a review will be carried out by the Chief Inspector of Constabulary Sir Tom Winsor into the handling of the police chief’s resignation. 

London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan will also work with the Home Secretary to appoint a new commissioner ‘to address the deep cultural issues facing the Met Police Service’, his office added.

A spokesman for Mr Khan said: ‘The mayor thanks Dame Cressida Dick for her decades of public service.

‘The mayor has been clear that candidates for the next commissioner must have a plan to restore the trust and confidence of Londoners.’

Miss Patel insisted Sir Stephen will provide ‘stability and continuity’ for the Met. 

Before joining the force, Dame Cressida’s successor, Sir Stephen House, had a career with Police Scotland that was dogged by controversy after the force was heavily criticised over the deaths of two people in a car crash on the M9 motorway.

Lamara Bell and John Yuill lay in their car for three days despite a member of the public calling Police Scotland’s non-emergency line to report a damaged vehicle. Miss Bell was still alive when emergency services finally arrived, but later died in hospital. 

He stood down and retired in 2015 following the incident, but it was later claimed he was effectively sacked by Nicola Sturgeon over the incident, her former aide Noel Dolan wrote in a bombshell book last year. 

Sir Stephen has also faced criticism from Lib Dem MP and former police officer Wendy Chamberlain, who told the Evening Standard he was ‘completely unsuitable’ to lead the Met. 

She explained: ‘After so many scandals, the Met desperately needs strong new leadership to rebuild public trust.

‘Putting it in the hands of someone who left his own trail of scandals in Police Scotland is not the way to do that.’ 

A spokesperson for Sir Stephen declined to respond to Ms Chamberlain’s letter. 

Dame Cressida will take unused annual leave after April 10, with her last day of employment being Sunday April 24.

It comes after it was claimed City Hall launched an abortive bid to gag Dame Cressida and slash her rumoured £500,000 payoff.

Sadiq Khan’s aides are said to have wanted her to sign a confidentiality clause after her dramatic early resignation. 

April 2017: Appointed as first female Metropolitan Police commissioner.

April 2019: Extinction Rebellion protesters bring London to a standstill over several days with the Met powerless to prevent the chaos.

September 2019: Her role in setting up of a probe into alleged VIP child sex abuse and murder based on testimony from Carl Beech (right) is revealed but she declines to answer questions.

2020: Official report into Operation Midland said Met was more interested in covering up mistakes than learning from them.

February 2021: Lady Brittan condemns the culture of ‘cover up and flick away’ in the Met.

  • The same month a freedom of information request reveals an extraordinary spin campaign to ensure Dame Cressida was not ‘pulled into’ the scandal.

March: Criticised for Met handling of a vigil for Sarah Everard, where officers arrested four attendees. Details would later emerge about how Wayne Couzens (right), used his warrant card to trick her. 

  • In the first six months of the year, London was on course for its worst year for teenage deaths – 30 – with knives being responsible for 19 out of the 22 killed so far. The youngest was 14-year-old Fares Matou, cut down with a Samurai sword. Dame Cressida had told LBC radio in May her top priority was tackling violent crime.

June: A £20million report into the Daniel Morgan murder brands the Met ‘institutionally corrupt’ and accuses her of trying to block the inquiry. Dame Cressida rejects its findings. Mr Morgan is pictured below. 

July: Police watchdog reveals three Met officers being probed over alleged racism and dishonesty.

  • The same month the Yard boss is at the centre of another storm after it emerged she was secretly referred to the police watchdog over comments she made about the stop and search of Team GB sprinter Bianca Williams.
  • Also in July she finds herself under fire over her woeful security operation at the Euro 2020 final at Wembley where fans without tickets stormed the stadium and others used stolen steward vests and ID lanyards to gain access.

August Dame Cressida facing a potential misconduct probe over her open support for Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Horne who could stand trial over alleged data breaches.

December: Two police officers who took pictures of the bodies of murdered sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman (right) were jailed for two years and nine months each. Pc Deniz Jaffer and Pc Jamie Lewis were assigned to guard the scene overnight after Ms Henry, 46, and Ms Smallman, 27, were found dead in bushes in Fryent Country Park, Wembley, north-west London. Instead, they breached the cordon to take photographs of the bodies, which were then shared with colleagues and members of the public on WhatsApp. 

 

December: Dame Cressida apologises to the family of a victim of serial killer Stephen Port (right). Officers missed several chances to catch him after he murdered Anthony Walgate in 2014.  Dame Cressida – who was not commissioner at the time of the murder – told Mr Walgate’s mother: ‘I am sorry, both personally and on behalf of The Met — had police listened to what you said, things would have turned out a lot differently’.’

January 2022: She faces a barrage of fresh criticism for seeking to ‘muzzle’ Sue Gray’s Partygate report by asking her to make only ‘minimal’ references to parties the Met were investigating. 

February 2022: Details of messages exchanged by officers at Charing Cross Police Station, which included multiple references to rape, violence against women, racist and homophobic abuse, are unveiled in a watchdog report.

Home Secretary Priti Patel confirmed during the week that the circumstances of Dame Cressida’s resignation will be reviewed by the outgoing chief inspector of constabulary Sir Tom Winsor.

The Home Office said the review, to begin on April 1 and expected to finish by the summer, will aim to established why she stepped down, consider whether due process was followed and include recommendations to strengthen future accountability and due process checks.

Dame Cressida quit last month after an avalanche of scandals, including the Sarah Everard murder, Daniel Morgan’s death and Carl Beech’s VIP child sex abuse claims.

It followed the London mayor saying he was not happy with her response to offensive messages by a group of officers based at Charing Cross police station.

It is not clear who will take over from her, but anti-terror chief Neil Basu, ex-Merseyside chief Andy Cooke and Northern Ireland’s Simon Byrne are in the running.

Whoever does is likely to take on the Partygate inquiry, which has seen mandarins across Westminster being interviewed by police.

Britain’s top civil servant Simon Case was probed over the alleged lockdown-breaking parties in Whitehall, it was reported last week.

In a written statement to the Commons on Monday, Ms Patel confirmed Sir Stephen would temporarily take over as head of the force until the next commissioner is in.

She said: ‘Dame Cressida Dick will conclude her tenure as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service in April.

‘She deserves our profound gratitude for her decades of public service and leadership in policing, as well as our best wishes for the future.

‘Dame Cressida has shown exceptional dedication to fighting crime in London and beyond throughout her time as Commissioner, as the first woman to hold the role of Commissioner.

‘The circumstances in which the outgoing MPS Commissioner is leaving her role warrant a closer look at the legislation which governs the suspension and removal of the Commissioner.

‘I am pleased to announce that Sir Tom Winsor will be undertaking a formal review into the circumstances and implications of Dame Cressida’s departure.’

The Home Office said the review, to begin on April 1 and expected to finish by the summer, will aim to establish and assess the full facts, timeline of events and circumstances which resulted in the stepping aside of Dame Cressida.

It will also consider whether due process was followed and include recommendations on how accountability and due process may be strengthened.

Dame Cressida quit after Mr Khan was furious at her handling of racist, misogynist and homophobic messages shared by a group of officers based at Charing Cross.

Her resignation, hours after she said in a media interview she had no intention of quitting, was greeted with dismay by many officers but critics were chuffed.

Deputy commissioner Sir Stephen wrote to Ms Patel calling for a review of Dame Cressida’s treatment by Mr Khan, saying due process had not been followed.

Ms Patel’s written statement added: ‘The Metropolitan Police Service faces major challenges and needs to demonstrate sustained improvements in order to regain public trust in London and nationally.

‘It is vital that we get the right person for the biggest leadership role in policing in this country.

‘I will shortly launch the process to recruit a new Commissioner and anticipate that it will conclude in the summer.

‘I will then make my formal recommendation to Her Majesty the Queen. My recommendation will pay regard to the views of the mayor of London, as occupant of the mayor’s office for policing and crime.

‘In the immediate term following Dame Cressida’s departure, legislation enables the deputy commissioner, Sir Steve House, to exercise temporarily the powers and duties of the Commissioner.

‘Sir Steve and the mayor of London must drive improvement even before the next Commissioner is in place to ensure that the Metropolitan Police Service restores trust and takes every necessary action to keep the public safe.’

Last night it was claimed Mr Khan overruled the idea of gagging Dame Cressida. But there has also been an ‘acrimonious’ row over the size of her payout.

The terms of her departure have yet to be finalised with claims about the latest wrangling in The Times.

Despite Mr Khan arguing Dame Cressida was not legally entitled to compensation of £500,000 because she had not signed an extension to her contract, she is said to have held firm and is expected to get a large sum.

A City Hall source said an agreement is expected to be reached in due course, which will allow the Home Office to begin the process to recruit a successor.

A spokesman said: ‘Public trust in the Met Police is at the lowest level on record, following a series of devastating scandals including the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving police officer and the overt racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia and discrimination exposed at Charing Cross Police Station and the appalling strip search of a Black schoolchild where the Child Safeguarding review found that race was a factor.

‘It was against this backdrop that the Mayor lost confidence in the ability of the current Met Commissioner to lead the deep-rooted change needed.

‘The Mayor will now work with the Home Secretary to appoint a new Commissioner who understands the depths of the problems faced by the force and has a plan to restore the trust and confidence of Londoners.’ 

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