London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan has said the new Metropolitan Police chief must have a “robust plan” to deal with the police’s “cultural problems”, following the departure of Dame Cressida Dick on Thursday.
Dick resigned over Mr Khan’s lack of confidence in her plans for reform, giving her “no choice” by the leave the post, as well as mounting public pressure following allegations of sexism and racism in the force.
Khan said he was “deeply concerned” public trust in the force had been “shattered”, he wrote in the Observer.
He said he would oppose the appointment of any successor who he felt did not meet the threshold of culture change.
Just last week, the police watchdog found “disgraceful” behaviour at London’s Charing Cross police station, including sexist WhatsApp messages and racist remarks shared between officiers.
The Mayor wrote: “The truth is that communities will only act as the eyes and ears of the police, and be active partners in working to prevent crime, if the necessary trust is established.”
‘I’ve seen and felt the damage that this kind of breakdown in trust can cause. That’s one of the main reasons why I’m deeply concerned by how public trust and confidence in London’s police service has been shattered so badly – not just by the Hotton report, but by a succession of serious incidents’’, he added.
Khan cited the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by a serving police officer; the policing of a peaceful vigil; two officers caught sharing pictures of the murdered sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman; and failings by the Met Police which contributed to the deaths of the final three victims of Stephen Port, with accusations that homophobia within the police impeded the investigation.
Whilst the final appointment of the new Met police is down to the Home Secretary Priti Patel, she must take the Mayor’s views into account when deciding who would take on Dick’s role.
However, it has been reported that Patel and Khan have had strenuous relations, following reports that the Home Secretary believes that Khan had “politicised the police” by forcing the departure of Dick.
The Sunday Times reported that Patel’s preferred choice is Dame Lynne Owens, former head of National Crime Agency.