Mayor will oppose Met chief who does not understand force’s ‘cultural issues’



Sadiq Khan has pledged to oppose the appointment of a new Met Police chief unless they have a “robust plan” to deal with the “cultural problems” that have led to a series of scandals at the force.

Writing in The Observer, the London Mayor said he was “deeply concerned” that public trust and confidence in the country’s biggest police force “has been shattered so badly”, which he concluded could only be rebuilt with new leadership at the top of the Met .

Dame Cressida Dick dramatically announced she was standing down as Metropolitan Police Commissioner on Thursday evening after Mr Khan made clear he had no confidence in her plans to reform the service.


It has become crystal-clear that there are deep cultural issues within the Met

London Mayor Sadiq Khan

Mr Khan wrote that he will “work closely” with Priti Patel on the selection of Dame Cressida’s successor.

While the Conservative Home Secretary holds the power over the appointment, she must take the Labor Mayor’s preference into account.

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.”

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 to 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”.

Dame Cressida Dick arriving at New Scotland Yard on Friday (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

(PA Wire)

Dame Cressida, however, chose not to attend after reportedly being informed that Mr Khan had no confidence in his 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”.

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 a serving Met officer.

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 of her go viral.

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

Patsy Stevenson was thrust into the limelight when she was photographed being pinned to the ground by a police officer at a vigil for Sarah Everard (Steve Parsons/PA)

(PA Archive)

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.”


www.independent.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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