Dame Cressida Dick came under “political pressure” from the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to resign from her role as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and “felt intimidated,” a report published on Friday said.
Dick resigned in February, saying Khan had “left me no choice.”
A report—commissioned by Home Secretary Priti Patel—by the former chief inspector of constabulary, Sir Tom Winsor, said her departure was effectively a constructive dismissal.
Khan immediately rejected Winsor’s findings and claimed he was “clearly biased and ignores the facts.”
Dick, who had drawn up plans on Feb. 4 to reform the force after a number of scandals, suddenly resigned only hours after saying she had no intention of quitting.
Her deputy, Sir Stephen House, then wrote to Patel, “expressing grave misgivings” about due process not having been followed.
Cressida Dick Was Given ‘Ultimatum’
In his report, Winsor said Khan, through his chief of staff, gave Dick an “ultimatum” on Feb. 10 and told her: “If the commissioner did not attend a meeting and convince the mayor that her plan of February 4 would be improved, he would make a statement to the media.”
Dick refused to attend that meeting and the mayor’s chief of staff gave her an hour to decide if she was staying or going.
“She felt intimidated by this process into stepping aside, and I can understand that,” said Winsor.
Winsor’s report says: “The commissioner faced political pressure from the mayor to resign, that pressure being of a character and intensity which was effectively his calling on her to leave office, outside the established statutory procedure and contrary to the wider legislative scheme.”
He said “none of the statutory steps set out in section 48 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011” were followed.
Sir Mark Rowley is due to take over as commissioner later this month and faces a huge task, with the force having been put into “special measures” in June.
At the time Policing Minister, Kit Malthouse, accused Khan of being “asleep at the wheel” when it came to the Metropolitan Police.
Plagued With Scandals
In the last two years the force has been plagued with scandals—the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving police officer; racist, misogynist, and homophobic messages exchanged by officers at Charing Cross police station; the strip-searching of “Child Q”; and the “seemingly incomprehensible” failures in the investigation into serial killer Stephen Port, which led to a decision on June 23 this year to reinvestigate police officers.
House welcomed Winsor’s “thorough and impartial report” and Dick described it as a “highly detailed and forensic account.”
Khan said, “Londoners will be able to see that this review is clearly biased and ignores the facts.”
Khan, who was re-elected as Mayor in May 2021, said: “On the former commissioner’s watch, trust in the police fell to record lows following a litany of terrible scandals. What happened was simple, I lost confidence in the former commissioner’s ability to make the changes needed and she then chose to stand aside.”
“I make absolutely no apology for demanding better for London and for putting the interests of the city I love first,” he added.
Dick insisted: “At all times I sought to uphold the law and act ethically and with goodwill, professionalism, openness, and trust. I fully respect the need for democratic oversight of policing. It is also important that politicians respect due process and do not break the rules.”
PA Media contributed to this report.
Chris Summers is a UK-based journalist covering a wide range of national stories, with a particular interest in crime, policing and the law.