Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has been put “on notice” by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, that she must reverse the culture of racism, homophobia, bullying and misogyny discovered in her service’s ranks since she took over.
Khan is said to have referred to it as “a return to the bad days of the Met of his childhood in the 1970s and 80s”.
Certainly there is reason to find fault with the Met Police under Dick’s direction.
The latest revelations show officers, mainly at Charing Cross, had joked about rape, domestic violence and killing black children.
A report by the Independent Office of Police Conduct stated, “We believe these incidents are not isolated or simply the behaviour of a few ‘bad apples’.”
Recent history bears this out.
Look at Wayne Couzens, who kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard, and burned the body to evade detection. Did Charing Cross officers make a joke about that? One Met officer certainly did – he shared memes showing a police officer kidnapping a woman, but has been allowed to keep his job.
Three more officers were charged with sex offences in October alone. One – David Carrick – now faces charges relating to 29 offences including many rapes between 2009 and 2020. Francois Olwage faces child sex charges. Adam Zaman has been charged with rape.
And what about the officers assigned to guard the bodies of murdered women, who took photographs of them and shared the images on a WhatsApp group because they thought it was funny? The mother of murdered sisters Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry demanded that Dick clear the rot from the Met but that clearly hasn’t happened.
Incidents in which Met officers have stopped and searched people who happen to have been “driving while black” abound.
But Cressida Dick herself is not above suspicion either. Both she and the service she heads were found to have been “institutionally corrupt” in their handling of the Daniel Morgan murder inquiry.
And now it seems she is busily covering up the misdeeds of Boris Johnson in the Partygate scandal. Initially the Met refused to investigate allegations of more than a dozen lockdown-busting Downing Street parties, claiming there was no evidence, even though officers from that service were guarding the doors of Number 10 at the time and it seems unlikely that they could have failed to notice civil servants carrying suitcases full of wine bottles into the building.
After Sue Gray uncovered a huge mass of evidence, Dick stepped in and announced that the Met had decided to investigate after all – and this meant the senior civil servant must edit details relating to the 12 parties under police investigation out of her report.
It seems, even after being labelled “corrupt” in the Morgan report, Dick just can’t stop interfering.
So now Sadiq Khan has put her “on notice”. If she does not clean up her act, and that of her officers, then according to a source close to Khan, “the mayor will have to consider whether she is the right person to lead the change needed at the Met”.
He means he’ll have her removed.
As far as some of us are concerned, such a move can’t come soon enough. He should have done it already.
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