Sadiq Khan: Met Police chief needs ‘robust plan’ to deal with ‘cultural problems’ in force, says London mayor

Cressida Dick announced her resignation from her role as Met Police chief after the London mayor made it clear he had no confidence in her plans to reform the service

Sadiq Khan has pledged to oppose the appointment of a new Met Police Commissioner unless they have a “robust plan” to deal with the “cultural problems” in the force.

Dame Cressida Dick announced her resignation from the post of Met Police chief on Thursday 10 February, after the London Mayor made clear that he had no confidence in her plans to reform the service.

Khan has said he will “work closely” with Home Secretary Priti Patel on the selection of Dame Cressida’s successor.

Public confidence “shattered”

Writing in The Observer, Khan said he was “deeply concerned” the public trust in the force was “shattered so badly”, and this could only be rebuilt with new leadership.

Patel holds the power over the appointment of the next police chief, but she must take Khan’s preference into account.

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Mr Khan wrote: “I will not support the appointment of a new commissioner unless they can clearly demonstrate that they understand the scale of the cultural problems within the Met and the urgency with which they must be addressed.

“In short, they need to get it, and they need to have a proper and robust plan to deal with it.”

“Strong and decisive leadership” required

The comments could foment tensions that arose between the mayor and Ms Patel over the manner of Dame Cressida’s departure, just months after the Home Secretary agreed a two-year extension to her contract.

Home Office sources said Ms Patel was angered by Mr Khan’s failure to inform her that he had called Dame Cressida to a meeting on Thursday afternoon, which she considered “rude and unprofessional”.

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Dame Cressida, however, chose not to attend after reportedly being informed that Mr Khan had no confidence in her plans for reform.

Sources close to the mayor said that it had been a regular bilateral meeting and that it was up to Dame Cressida to inform Ms Patel of her decision herself.

Ms Patel has said it would require “strong and decisive leadership” to rebuild public confidence in the Met’s “integrity and professionalism”.

“Systemic misogyny and racism has been allowed to thrive”

Dame Cressida’s departure follows a barrage of criticism of the force including over its handling of the case of Sarah Everard who was raped and murdered by Wayne Couzens, who was a serving Met Police officer at the time.

Scotland Yard also faced a sustained public outcry over its policing of the vigil for the murdered woman which saw women bundled to the ground and arrested. Among them was Patsy Stevenson who had the photo of her arrest go viral.

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Ms Stevenson, who has since launched legal action against the police, was among those to welcome the news Dame Cressida had gone.

In a Sunday Times interview published on the first anniversary of her publicly-documented arrest, the 28-year-old said she “stopped in the street and almost cried” when she heard the commissioner had resigned.

Ms Stevenson added: “I thought, thank God. Not only has she presided over a force where systemic misogyny and racism has been allowed to thrive, she’s failed to ensure the perpetrators are prosecuted.

“But the fact that she’s out doesn’t fix what’s going on. This can’t be a token gesture. There has to be top-down, radical change.”

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