cotland Yard chief Dame Cressida Dick on Friday warned that a “politicisation of policing” was damaging the entire justice system in a thinly-veiled swipe at Mayor Sadiq Khan before leaving office.
The Met Commissioner — forced to resign after clashing with Mr Khan — admitted that recent scandals, including the murder of Sarah Everard by serving officer Wayne Couzens, caused her to look back “with humility” when Londoners were “let down”.
Writing in Friday’s Evening Standard, Britain’s most senior police officer also said she was “privileged” to lead the force and did so “with pride for what has been achieved”.
Dame Cressida quit after “losing the confidence” of Mr Khan over her plans to reform the force amid allegations of a toxic racist, sexist and homophobic culture.
Home Secretary Priti Patel waded into the row by commissioning a review of the handling of the resignation, headed by Sir Tom Winsor, the Chief Inspector of Constabulary.
Amid further criticism of the force’s handling of lockdown parties in Downing Street, Dame Cressida, whose last day is Sunday, warned: “The current politicisation of policing is a threat not just to policing but to trust in the whole criminal justice system. Operational independence from local and central government is crucial for an effective democracy and is a model respected around the world. We must all treasure and protect it.”
Mr Khan had expressed anger at Dame Cressida’s response to the outrage over offensive messages exchanged by a group of officers at Charing Cross.
Public confidence was also rocked by the sharing of pictures by two police officers of the bodies of murdered sisters Bibaa Henry, 46, and Nicole Smallman, 27, a series of sex and corruption cases, as well as the strip-search of 15-year-old black schoolgirl in Hackney who was wrongly accused of having cannabis.
In a final “letter to London”, Dame Cressida expressed sadness that her five-year tenure was ending, and said: “As I look back there is more I wish we had achieved.
“We hear the criticism, know not everyone has confidence in us to provide a good service when they need us, and have seen among us those whose horrific actions have let you all, and us, down so terribly.
“Each one drives us to get better, to root out those who don’t uphold our standards and don’t deserve to wear our uniform. To improve our response so all our communities feel protected by us. We are listening and acting on what you tell us so we can change for the better.”
She hailed the Met’s action plan to tackle violence against women and girls, based on feedback from victims.
Dame Cressida became the Met’s first female leader on April 10, 2017. Deputy Commissioner Sir Stephen House will temporarily lead the force.