London’s Metropolitan Police Service Commissioner Cressida Dick has resigned amid criticism of her leadership following a series of scandals that have dented public confidence in Britain’s largest police force.
In a Thursday statement, she said: “It is with huge sadness that following contact with the Mayor of London today, it is clear that the Mayor no longer has sufficient confidence in my leadership to continue. He has left me no choice but to step aside as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service.”
Her resignation came only hours after she told the BBC she had “absolutely no intention” of leaving her post.
It follows the publication last week of a damning report by the Independent Office for Police Conduct which revealed what it called a culture of misogyny and racism in the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).
Responding to the report, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said there were clear “cultural problems” in UK policing and that she was absolutely “appalled and sickened” by the content of the report.
The report centered on nine linked independent investigations concerning serving police officers from the MPS mainly based at London’s Charing Cross police station. After finding several officers guilty of serious misconduct offenses, the report issued 15 recommendations “to change policing practice” in the UK.
The murder of 33-year-old marketing executive Sarah Everard in London last year by a serving police officer, and the Met’s handling of a public vigil held in her memory, also rocked public trust in the force after scenes of grieving women being pinned to the ground by Met officers went viral.
The Met has also faced questions over the way it has handled allegations that parties were held in the official residences and offices of Prime Minister Boris Johnson in 2020 and 2021 in breach of strict Covid-19 regulations in force at the time. Investigations are ongoing.
Johnson said in a Thursday tweet that Dick had “served her country with great dedication and distinction over many decades. I thank her for her role protecting the public and making our streets safer.”
Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats party, tweeted that Johnson should play no role in appointing a new commissioner while the Met investigations into alleged lockdown-breaking parties continue. He added that “a change of leadership in the Met is long overdue.”
In her resignation statement, Dick said she had agreed to stay on “for a short period” to ensure the force’s stability while “arrangements are made for a transition to a new Commissioner.”
She acknowledged that the murder of Everard and other scandals had “damaged confidence” in the force but said it had “turned its full attention to rebuilding public trust and confidence.”
“Throughout my career I have sought to protect the people of this wonderful thriving and diverse city,” Dick said.
“There have been many tough calls. And many challenges. The 2017 terrorist attacks, the Grenfell fire, difficult protests, the pandemic, the murder of serving officers. I’m incredibly proud of my team and all they have achieved.”
Dick became the first woman to hold the post of Met commissioner in 2017, having previously served as Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations and National Police Chief Council counter-terrorist lead from 2011 to 2014. She first joined the Met in 1983, and worked her way up through the ranks over the years.
In a statement Thursday, Khan acknowledged Dick’s 40 years of public service and her efforts to bring down violent crime rates in the UK’s capital, but said he lacked confidence in her leadership.
“Last week, I made clear to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner the scale of the change I believe is urgently required to rebuild the trust and confidence of Londoners in the Met and to root out the racism, sexism, homophobia, bullying, discrimination and misogyny that still exists,” he said. “I am not satisfied with the Commissioner’s response.”
He added: “It’s clear that the only way to start to deliver the scale of the change required is to have new leadership right at the top of the Metropolitan Police.”
The Mayor said he would work closely with Patel to appoint a new commissioner “so that we can move quickly to restore trust in the capital’s police service while keeping London safe.”
CNN’s Laura Smith-Spark wrote from London and Kara Fox contributed from New York. CNN’s Niamh Kennedy and Sharon Braithwaite contributed to this report.