Top 5 failures of Met Commissioner Cressida Dick

The policewoman has been involved in a number of controversial cases including the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes and Operation Midland.

Cressida Dick

Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick is facing a wave of fresh calls for her resignation after it emerged that Wayne Couzens used his power as a police officer to abduct Sarah Everard.

In a letter to the commissioner, Harman, who is MP for Camberwell and Peckham, said that women’s confidence in the police will have been “shattered”.

The letter read: “Women need to be confident that the police are there to make them safe, not put them at risk. Women need to be able to trust the police, not to fear them.

This is not the first time the commissioner has faced criticism over her leadership in the police. Here are five times questions have been raised over her actions.

  1. The Sarah Everard Vigil

The police handling of the Sarah Everard vigil in Clapham Common in March this year sparked a wave of criticism.

Crowds gathered to pay their respects to the murdered marketing executive near to where she went missing, but the peaceful event turned ugly as police manhandled mourners and made several arrests.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said that the policing of the event was “completely unacceptable”.

Dick responded to critics by saying the complex demands her officers faced were not understood, saying: “They have to make these really difficult calls and I don’t think anybody should be sitting back in an armchair and saying, ‘Well, that was done badly’ or ‘I would’ve done it differently’ without actually understanding what was going through their minds.

“What has happened makes me more determined, not less, to lead my organisation.”

  1. The Daniel Morgan Report

After the publication of the long-awaited report into police failings around the 1987 unsolved murder of private detective Daniel Morgan, the brother of the victim, Alistair Morgan, slammed Dick’s actions.

He accused the commissioner of putting “every possible obstacle” in the path of progress into the investigation of the murder and called for her to resign.

The report accused the Metropolitan Police of “a form of institutional corruption” and the panel concluded that the Met’s first objective was to “protect itself”.

It also said that the family and the public were owed an apology.

In a statement at the time, the a spokesperson for the Met said that the police service “deeply regrets” the failure to bring those responsible for the murder of Daniel Morgan to justice and that they have transformed how they investigate homicide.

They said: “We accept corruption and the malicious acts of corrupt individuals were a major factor in the failure of the first investigation.

“We have worked hard to put the actions of these individuals right ever since.”

  1. Black Lives Matter

Activists have also called for the resignation of the commissioner for “failing to acknowledge” racism within the police.

In September last year, demonstrators gathered outside New Scotland Yard to protest the “over-policing of Black communities”.

Among the protestors was Mina Agyepong, whose home was raided in July 2020 after her 12-year-old son was seen playing with a toy gun.

In February 2020, 20 years after the release of the Macpherson report, Dick said the Met was no longer institutionally racist.

She said: “I don’t feel it is now a useful way to describe the service and I don’t believe we are. I simply don’t see it as a helpful or accurate description.”

  1. Operation Midland

In response to allegations of child sexual abuse by Carl Beech, Operation Midland investigated several high profile figures between November 2014 and March 2016 for sexual abuse and homocide.

The allegations turned out to be false, and Beech was jailed for 18 years.

Although assistant commissioner at the time, and only tangentially involved in the case, Dick was condemned by ex Conservative MP Harvey Proctor, who was one of the falsely accused.

On receiving £500,000 in compensation, Proctor said: “Cressida Dick failed abjectly in her duty and should resign.”

He added: “It will take a very long time, if ever, for me to personally have confidence in the Metropolitan Police Service.”

  1. Jean Charles de Menezes

In 2005, Dick was in charge of the operation where Brazilian citizen Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead by police at Stockwell Tube station after being mistaken for a terrorist.

It was revealed later that he appeared to match the description of a suspect in a failed bombing the previous day.

Dick was cleared of blame for the shooting by later inquiries.

She told the Daily Mail in 2018: “It was an appalling thing – an innocent man killed by police. Me in charge. Awful for the family and I was properly held to account. We learned every lesson that was to be learned.

“My job was to stand up and be counted, tell the truth and carry on. If police officers fell to pieces or resigned when operations didn’t go well, it wouldn’t send out a good message.”

In 2017, when she was appointed Met commissioner, the family of Mr de Menezes expressed “serious concerns” and called for her to resign after the Sarah Everard vigil.

Alexandra Warren is a freelance journalist.

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