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The embattled Police Commissioner will step down for good in April 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 will cover the role until a successor is appointed in the summer, despite Dame Cressida having been expected to stay until then.
The Home Secretary also said a review will be carried out by the Chief Inspector of Constabulary Sir Tom Winsor into the handling of the police chief’s resignation.
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.
The embattled Police Commissioner (left) will step down for good in April and be succeeded by Deputy Commissioner Sir Stephen House (right)
Priti Patel (pictured earlier this month) confirmed today Sir Stephen will cover the role until a successor is appointed in the summer
String of disasters at the Met under Dame Cressida’s watch
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.
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.’
Sadiq Khan (pictured), who announced he had lost confidence in the Met commissioner last month, reportedly vetoed the decision to try and make Cressida Dick sign a confidentiality clause
So who might take over the troubled Met? Favourites to replace Cressida Dick include an ex-counter-terror chief who threatened to jail journalists or a Merseyside cop who said violent criminals were ‘NOT inherently bad people’
The future leadership of the Metropolitan Police is still not known as confidence in the force continues to plummet.
Following the announcement, questions quickly turned to who would succeed her during a tumultuous time for Britain’s biggest police force.
Likely replacements for the £230,000-a-year role range from a counter-terror chief who threatened to jail journalists and blamed terrorism on a lack of social mobility to a Merseyside cop who said violent criminals were ‘not inherently bad people’.
Speaking to MailOnline in September, a senior MP said they feared the current crop of senior police may be ‘too woke’.
They said: ‘The problem with Cressida is she has presided over a series of disasters, and then says it is not her fault.
‘It is difficult when we always take the same view that operational decisions are a matter for the police not politicians.’
Here, MailOnline goes through the list of likely candidates to succeed Dame Cressida.
The leadership of the Metropolitan Police was thrown into chaos last night after Dame Cressida Dick’s bombshell resignation as Scotland Yard boss
Neil Basu: Anti-terror chief who called for journalists to be prosecuted after publishing leaked cables criticising Trump
Neil Basu, who has been at the Met for nearly 30 years
Neil Basu is the Met’s former head of counter-terrorism and the most senior serving British officer of Asian heritage.
He also served as the assistant commissioner for specialist operations until September 2021, which included responsibilities around national security, and had originally been tipped for the top job in 2017 before losing out to Dame Cressida.
In February this year, he called for laws in the Equality Act 2010 that restrict positive discriminations to be relaxed in order to boost the number of BAME recruits. He was immediately shot down by policing minister Kit Malthouse, while Home Secretary Priti Patel was also said to be against the idea.
Sadiq Khan’s City Hall ‘launched abortive bid to gag ousted Met chief Cressida Dick and slash her £500k payout’
City Hall officials launched an abortive bid to gag outgoing Met chief Cressida Dick and slash her rumoured £500,000 payoff, it was claimed today.
Sadiq Khan’s aides are said to have wanted Dame Cressida to sign a confidentiality clause after her dramatic early resignation.
The London mayor is believed to have overruled the idea. But there has also been an ‘acrimonious’ row over the size of her payout.
The commissioner quit last month after Mr Khan said he had lost confidence in her following a series of scandals at the Met.
However, the terms of her departure have yet to be finalised with claims about the latest wrangling in The Times.
Mr Basu faced fresh accusations of meddling in politics in July 2019, when he threatened to prosecute journalists for publishing leaked cables from Britain’s ambassador to the US, Sir Kim Darroch.
Former Tory cabinet minister David Davis said the intervention ‘strayed well beyond his brief’, and represented an attack on the free Press.
Mr Basu’s comments came after Scotland Yard launched a probe to find who leaked Sir Kim’s memos calling the Trump administration ‘clumsy and inept’.
Mr Basu, who has spent his whole career at the Met, made another controversial intervention in August that year when suggested homegrown terrorism was fuelled by a lack of social mobility and inclusion. He said better education and opportunities for young people would do more to fight terrorism than ‘the policing and state security apparatus put together’ — adding that he was not trying to excuse any acts of violence.
He also said British Muslims should not be forced to ‘assimilate’, adding: ‘Assimilation implies that I have to hide myself in order to get on. We should not be a society that accepts that.’
A 2019 profile of Basu in the Mail On Sunday described him as well-liked within the force and by intelligence officials at MI5. But he has attracted criticism for some of his operational decisions, most notably as head of Operations Weeting, Elveden and Tuleta. The three inquiries into phone hacking, computer hacking and alleged payments to police officers by newspapers cost around £19.5million and were criticised for criminalising journalists.
Mr Basu also raised eyebrows when he said that the Prevent programme – which tries to detect and deradicalise extremists – was viewed by some critics as a ‘toxic brand’ and needs ‘better communication, more transparency’.
A Hindu, born to an Indian doctor father and a white British mother, he has said he has encountered racism over most of his life. He grew up in Stafford, where he studied at Walton High School before reading economics at Nottingham University.
He became a Met police officer in 1992, serving first as a beat bobby in Battersea, South London, then swiftly moving through the ranks as a borough commander in Barnet, North London, and a Commander of South London in 2012.
Andy Cooke: Former Merseyside chief who insists even violent criminals are ‘not inherently bad people’
Andy Cooke, who now serves with the police inspectorate
While head of Merseyside Police, Andy Cooke sparked anger when he said even violent criminals are ‘not inherently bad people’ and he’d rather pump billions into cutting poverty than upholding the law.
The officer, marking his retirement as Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, said if he was given a £5 billion budget to cut crime, he would spend £1 billion on crime and £4 billion on tackling poverty.
He now serves in the role of Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary and Inspector of Fire and Rescue Authorities in England. He will be overseeing inspections primarily in the North of England.
Mr Cooke was chief constable for five years, during which time he has overseen the jailing of dozens of multi-millionaire drug laws, including Liverpool’s most notorious drugs boss Liam ‘the Lam’ Cornett, who was transported to court in a huge armed convoy every day, and the jet-setting Mulhare brothers, who were caught abroad in Thailand after being informed on by a ‘supergrass’.
Murderers jailed during his tenure include George Leather, 60, who brutally killed his Asda worker wife, 56, by stabbing her 300 times in an ‘episode of unspeakable and barbaric savagery’, and Robert Child, 37, who was jailed for life for striking his 64-year-old mother Janice with a hammer 31 times.
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said of Mr Cooke’s plans for the police budget: ‘In that case would he be quite happy to sack 80% of the officers. Reducing poverty is not a function of the policing budget, it’s the job of other agencies and government.
‘I’m not convinced that this change would be welcomed by the vast majority of the UK population. They want to see the police protecting citizens and property and crime. He sounds like someone who would have taken the knee for BLM and defunded the police.’
Under Mr Cooke, Merseyside Police gained a reputation for tough policing and for being a keen user of stop-and-search powers. He was also the first commander of Merseyside’s Matrix unit, set up to tackle gang crime and violence.
Simon Byrne: Top Northern Ireland cop ‘with a reputation for being like Darth Vader’
Simon Byrne became chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland in May 2019
Simon Byrne became chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland in May 2019, arriving at the force with 36 years of policing behind him.
After holding senior roles at GMP and the Met, he became chief constable of Cheshire Police from 2014 to 2017. That role ended in controversial circumstances after he was accused of bullying and humiliating staff.
A misconduct hearing was told he had a reputation for being like Darth Vader and treated junior officers and staff like ‘roadkill’.
The hearing was told he handed pictures of Dad’s Army characters to officers after he became angry when flooding made him late for work.
However, he was cleared of misconduct, with the tribunal concluding that much of what was claimed was either exaggerated or most likely didn’t happen.
During his time as chief constable, Mr Byrne revealed he had considered breaking the law in order to hire more officers from ethnic minorities. At that time the force only had three black officers.
He told the BBC in 2017 that the law should be changed in England ‘for a certain period of time’ to allow the hiring of minority candidates to speed up. This would ensure that ‘for every white officer, we recruit one black officer.’
Mr Byrne said: ‘I’ve even taken legal advice about breaking the law, which might sound crazy as a senior police officer.
‘But if we’re put under pressure to change, then what are the consequences, other than reputational, from breaking the law?’
Under current equality rules employers cannot employ a job applicant because of characteristics like race, sexual orientation or gender, if other candidates are better qualified.
At PSNI he attracted controversy for suggesting the children of paramilitaries could be taken into care.
He was also forced to apologise after tweeting a photo of himself with officers holding rifles outside a PSNI station on Christmas Day, the BBC reported.
Martin Hewitt: NPCC chief who backed crackdown on Covid sceptics and said officers felt ‘undervalued’ amid pay row
Martin Hewitt, chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council
As chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) throughout the Covid crisis, Martin Hewitt has made a number of high-profile interventions in politics.
Amid fury last year at officers being hit by a pay freeze, Mr Hewitt told Priti Patel that many officers believed the decision was ‘unfair’ and they felt ‘undervalued’ after their efforts during Covid.
Mr Hewitt said: ‘For many it feels unfair and that their contribution is undervalued.
‘And, unlike other parts of the public service, officers do not have the option of industrial action to make their case more strongly.
‘As the Government makes spending decisions over coming months, we urge you to fund a settlement which properly reflects the important and complex work police officers do, and starts to address the pay shortfall.’
In January 2021, he backed a crackdown on lockdown sceptics and said officers would no longer ‘waste time’ trying to reason with them amid soaring death rates.
Speaking at a Downing Street press briefing, he gave examples of shocking ‘irresponsible behaviour’ from people not heeding warnings – even with more than 1,200 people dying every day.
They included a £30-per-head boat party in Hertfordshire with more than 40 people, a Surrey house party whose host tried to claim it was a business event and a minibus full of people from different households caught travelling from Cheltenham into Wales for a walk.
Mr Hewitt was appointed in April 2019. He began his policing career with Kent Police in 1993 and transferred to the Metropolitan Police Service in 2005.
As an Assistant Commissioner for five years, he led frontline and local policing, specialist crime and professional standards.
He led the national police response to adult sexual offences and kidnap between 2014 and 2019, and served as a Vice-Chair for the NPCC from 2015 before taking on the chairmanship.
Matt Jukes: Assistant commissioner credited with leading crackdown on Rotherham child grooming gangs
Matt Jukes: Assistant commissioner credited with leading crackdown on Rotherham child grooming gangs
Matt Jukes joined South Yorkshire police in 1995 three years after graduating with a degree in mathematics from Oxford.
He worked as a detective and rose through the ranks to represent UK police forces at G8 meetings and lead on national anti-terror strategy.
Mr Jukes is best known for tackling Rotherham grooming gangs while borough commander in the Yorkshire town from 2006 to 2010.
More than 1,000 children were exploited in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013, with local authorities, schools and police among agencies that failed to tackle the problem.
A report on the scandal by Professor Alexis Jay suggested that Mr Jukes’ leadership marked a point where police became more proactive in dealing with the abuse.
After serving in South Yorkshire Police, he moved to South Wales, with the police and crime commissioner there Alun Michael backing him as an outstanding leader.
Mr Jukes worked his way up to the top post in South Wales Police, becoming Chief Constable in January 2018.
He is also chairman of Police Sport UK.
Mr Jukes moved to the Met in November 2020. He was awarded a Queens Police Medal in the New Year Honours List 2018.
Source: Daily Mail