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Dame Cressida Dick to stay as head of Metropolitan Police until at least 2024

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Dame Cressida Dick will continue to lead the Metropolitan Police Service until 2024, Home Secretary Priti Patel has confirmed.

The decision comes just one day after campaigners against police injustice called for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to replace Dame Cressida after her current contract comes to an end in April 2022.

In an open letter published on Thursday, they accused the Met’s chief of “presiding over a culture of incompetence and cover-up”.

Dame Cressida Dick insisted she is an 'honourable' person and acted with 'integrity'.
Image: Campaigners against police injustice had called for Boris Johnson to replace Dame Cressida

But Ms Patel said the extension of Dame Cressida’s contract “will provide continuity and stability as we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic”.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he supports the Home Secretary’s decision.

Dame Cressida said she is “immensely honoured and humbled” to have been asked to extend her time as Met Commissioner for a further two years.

“I am proud to continue to serve my city,” she said in a statement.

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The two-year extension to Dame Cressida’s current fixed-term appointment was granted by the Queen, the Home Office announced on Friday.

Ms Patel said: “I am pleased to announce that Dame Cressida will continue to lead the Metropolitan Police until April 2024 and wish to thank her for her service to date.”

She added: “Londoners know there is more to do to keep our capital safe, including by driving down violent crime, and I look forward to continuing to work with the commissioner and mayor of London to protect the public.”

File photo dated 28/1/2021 of Priti Patel. The Home Office has also refused to say how much it has spent on Napier Barracks or how much money has been handed to contractors. Issue date: Tuesday July 6, 2021.
Image: Priti Patel said Dame Cressida’s extension ‘will provide continuity and stability’

Mr Khan said the decision “will provide the experienced and strong leadership we need as our city emerges from the pandemic”.

“The Met commissioner has the most difficult policing job in the country, overseeing the safety of more than ten million people living, working and visiting our global city,” the mayor of London said.

“The last four-and-a-half years have also presented significant additional challenges for the Met, including terror attacks, the tragedy of Grenfell Tower, rising public order incidents and policing challenging COVID-19 restrictions.

“It’s my role as mayor to both support the commissioner and hold her to account and I will continue to do so to ensure we continue to reduce serious violence in all its forms and increase trust and confidence in our police force among London’s diverse communities.”

Dame Cressida said she looks forward to “continuing to work with my dedicated, courageous colleagues and the public to create an even more visible, stronger and professional Met”.

“We will strive to prevent and reduce violence and the crimes Londoners care most about, bring more criminals to justice, and protect, support and build the confidence of all our communities,” she said.

Labour's Mayor of London Sadiq Khan walks along Brick Lane in East London
Image: Labour’s Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he supports the decision

“I’d like to thank the mayor, the home secretary and the Prime Minister for the confidence they have shown in me. I am acutely aware that there are many excellent leaders in policing.

“Every day across the capital, officers and police staff come to work focused on protecting people and making London safer – it is not only what the public expect and demand of us, but it is what inspired each of us to join and why after more than 35 years in policing I remain so passionate.

“Londoners have my word that I will keep working as hard as I can for them and for this wonderful city that I love. I take the responsibilities I have been entrusted with extremely seriously.”

On Thursday, the Met’s officers gave their “full support” to Dame Cressida following the criticism from campaigners against police injustice.

In recent months, she has resisted calls for her resignation over the force’s heavy-handed policing of a vigil held in memory of Sarah Everard, the marketing executive murdered by former Met Police officer Wayne Couzens in March.

The force, under Dame Cressida’s watch, has also faced ongoing accusations of racial bias in its use of stop and search powers and was hit with criticism over the security of Wembley stadium during the final of the Euro 2020 championships.

Police officers stand guard as members of the Official Voice group protest at Canary Wharf in London, Britain, September 3, 2021. REUTERS/Tom Nicholson
Image: As commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, she will continue to lead the largest force in England and Wales

The Met’s commissioner has previously denied the force is institutionally racist, but has admitted it is “not free of discrimination, racism or bias”.

She has also had to deal with the fallout from Operation Midland, a multimillion-pound investigation during which detectives were duped by false claims of a VIP sex abuse ring made by fantasist Carl Beech.

Deputy Commissioner Sir Stephen House previously apologised for failings made by the force following Operation Midland and insisted there was no cover-up.

As commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, she will continue to lead the largest force in England and Wales made up of more than 43,000 officers and staff and will be responsible for driving a reduction in crime in London, bringing offenders to justice, and upholding public confidence in the force.

In her role, Dame Cressida also has national responsibilities, including continuing to ensure an effective nationwide response to terrorist threats.

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said: “Labour looks forward to continuing to work with the commissioner on reducing serious violence, disproportionality in our criminal justice system and ensuring we have police on our streets keeping the people of London safe.

“The Metropolitan Police must always work to increase trust and confidence in every community, and ensure that lessons are learned from the injustices of the past.”