The resignation of Cressida Dick on 10 February 2022 has ignited polarised reactions from both her critics and supporters. But was her resignation an apt decision to protect her legacy and diminish any further personal resentment, or was it due to a disintegrating relationship with the Mayor of London?
There is no doubt Dick held her role firm during some of the most challenging crises and controversies the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has ever witnessed, but the reasons for Dick’s resignation go far deeper and centre on the overall culture of the Met officers.
Born in 1960, Dame Cressida Dick, the daughter of academics, grew up in Oxford with her two older siblings. Holding an extensive education from both Oxford and Cambridge Universities, Dick is widely admired and respected throughout the Greater London public for her frankness and willingness to admit truths when faced with hard realities.
Dick joined the police force in 1983 as a constable and moved swiftly through ranks. The then constable became Thames Valley Police superintendent 12 years later and eventually in 2017, after a lengthy 31 years in the service along with an early but short retirement, was appointed back into the force as Commissioner of the MPS. Dick had been handed a city with the lowest level of reported crime and it was through her administration we saw a dramatic rise of institutionalised corruption.
The resignation has brought to light a revision on too many scandals: the abduction, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by a serving officer (2021), the unsolved, dishonest and neglectful investigation into the murder of Daniel Morgan (1987), a perverted inquiry into a VIP paedophile ring (2014-2016) and on two Met police officers who dehumanised two black murder victims by sharing photos of the scene where they lay murdered (2021). These are just surface level fragments of a shattered Commissionership.
I believe the reason why her downfall became so intensified was due to the investigation made by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) into the conduct of the officers at Charing Cross police station which indicated there had been communications with high degrees of racism, misogyny, discrimination, and sexual harassment. Moreover, it has since become apparent the investigation found a permeation of these forms of degradation and harassment through a majority of the Met’s sectors. All the aforesaid scandals have amounted into one exclusive investigation, albeit uncovered in March 2018, I think it portrays a considerable lapse in Cressida Dick’s vision for her methods of redefining the Metropolitan Police and creating a healthier relationship between the police officers and the public.
In the same breath, her resignation was in reaction to an ultimatum delivered by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. Ironically, he offered blame and an imperious reprimand of Dick’s tenure, when perceptively blind to his own inability to hold himself accountable for his responsibilities and failures. This is not to say Dick had not had successes through her years of service, it is just more conceivable to see that Dick has too many times been the protector of the Metropolitan police officers when the confidence of the public did not stand in good stead, if at all.
Cressida Dick is not personally responsible for the wrongdoings, and apologetic for all adversities encountered, she merely never pushed for radical change in a culture essentially facilitated by unprofessional individualist behaviours.