Senior Met officer attacks Sadiq Khan over Cressida Dick exit | Metropolitan police

Scotland Yard’s leadership has attacked the ousting of Cressida Dick, claiming “due process” was ignored by the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and demanding that the home secretary reviews the Metropolitan police commissioner’s alleged unfair treatment.

Sir Stephen House, the Met deputy commissioner and a close ally of Dick, hit out at Khan, who publicly clashed with Dick this month, leading her to announce her resignation as head of Britain’s biggest police force.

The Met on Wednesday declined to say what it was hoped any review would achieve or to comment on whether Dick hoped to stay on if any review found she had been unfairly treated.

The row followed revelations about hate messages circulating among officers at Charing Cross police station from 2016 to 2018. The mayor was angered that nine of them were still serving in the Met, with two promoted.

Dick had been pressed to come up with a plan to deal with the huge problems facing the Met, and in the mayor’s view failed to do so. Dick then decided to resign as commissioner ahead of a scheduled meeting with Khan.

On Wednesday morning House told the London assembly’s police and crime committee that the mayor played to the media rather than following a process set out in law.

He said: “I feel deeply disappointed. There’s a clear procedure in statute laid down to allow the removal of a police chief officer. It’s not been followed in this instance; it’s not even been initiated in this instance.

“Due process has not been followed, and instead we’ve seen matters played out in the media. Because of this, I’ve written to the home secretary to ask her to have a review carried out of the events that have taken place.”

House’s comments make public the simmering anger of Dick and her allies at the mayor’s rejections of her reassurances that she was doing enough to tackle the Met’s confidence crisis.

One senior policing source said House’s demand was likely to be in the hope that a review finds in the commissioner’s favour so her resignation can be “rescinded”. The Home Office confirmed receipt of House’s letter and said it “will respond in due course”.

The removal of the commissioner is set out by law but Khan’s aides believe Dick’s decision to resign means it will not be reversed.

House said Khan had recently been a “strong advocate” for Dick, believing she should have a three-year extension to her term in office, not the two years the home secretary granted in September 2021. House said Dick was “the outstanding police officer of her generation”.

A spokesperson for Khan said his actions were entirely proper.

“The commissioner took the decision to step aside having failed to come up with a substantive plan that gave the mayor confidence she could root out the serious cultural issues in the Met, and regain the trust of Londoners,” they said.

“Her decision removed the need for the mayor to follow the statutory process. There is a precedent for this series of events. Ian Blair resigned as commissioner in 2008 following the loss of confidence in him by the mayor at the time.” This was Boris Johnson.

Dick’s departure date is still to be announced. The turmoil at the Met comes as it investigates the prime minister and others over parties breaching lockdown rules.

House said the Partygate investigation was expected to take weeks not months, and added that questionnaires sent to those believed to have attended rule-breaking parties were now being sent back to detectives and assessed to see if fines were merited.

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