The high-flying Met Police chief who couldn’t shake controversy

However, it is the failure to get to grips with the misogyny, sexism and racism exposed within the Met Police in the aftermath of the horrific rape and murder of Sarah Everard by one of her own officers who has proven to be her undoing.

The jailing of two officers for taking pictures of the corpses of two murdered sisters was quickly followed by the sickening sexism and racism at Charing Cross police station exposed by the watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

It was this that Sadiq Khan, the London major, cited when, on Wednesday, he gave her his ultimatum to clean up the force or lose her job. Nine of the 14 officers criticized in the watchdog probe were still in their jobs – with two promoted.

“There was a defensiveness by Cressida and the Met which was part of it. If you are more focused on defensiveness then there is something not right here,” said a former senior Met officer.

“They were more focused on defensiveness than getting onto the front foot and sorting things out. That was the basic problem.

“She picked a good top team but there is no innovation or imagination. Ella she is instinctively conservative and not open to ideas of doing things in different ways, which she appeared defensive.

There was intense pressure last summer for Dame Cressida to quit after the murder of Ms Everard and the controversy over the alleged heavy handed policing of the protests on Clapham Common that followed her death.

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She survived as both Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, and Mr Khan agreed there was no obvious successor with the experience and capability to lead Britain’s biggest police force. As a result, she secured a two year extension to her five year contract, allowing time for a successor to be found.

‘A lot of people within the Met were fed up’

Even those who are not fans testify that her survivability is rooted in her instinct to resist meddling in the House of Commons.

“She appreciates politics can get very toxic very quickly. She is also not blind to the fact that some of her predecessors were badly burned by failing to recognize that, ”said a Government source.

“She is very political and knows how to attend to the politicians and to the media. She knows how it is played,” said another source.

In their time working together, Dame Cressida and Ms Patel have had a frank relationship but shared an ideology; both were horrified by the 2019 eco-protests that shut down the capital and are staunch advocates of stop and search.

Both, too, have spoken out over their opposition to taking the knee, the symbol of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. It is not surprising, therefore, that it was Mr Khan who wielded the ax rather than Ms Patel, who appears to have been blindsided by the mayor’s actions.

The anger from the Met police federation at the Mayor’s moves also explains how she has survived despite the scandals and debacles. “She should have been treated better,” Ken Marsh, chair of the federation, which represents frontline officers, said last night.

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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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