• Tuesday, April 23, 2024


Met chief’s resignation sparks row between Sadiq Khan and Priti Patel

FILE PHOTO: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (L), Britain’s Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick (C) and Britain’s Home Secretary Priti Patel (R) observe a minute’s silence inside the atrium at Scotland Yard in London on September 25, 2020. (Photo by VICTORIA JONES/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

THE dramatic resignation of the London Met Police chief has sparked a row between mayor Sadiq Khan and home secretary Priti Patel as Khan did not warn the Home Office or Queen he was going to get rid of the commissioner, according to a media report. 

The MailOnline reported that a war of words has already started between Khan and Patel following the resignation of Cressida Dick.

Dame Cressida, the first woman head of Met Police, quit after losing Khan’s support over her plan to implement major reforms to Scotland Yard following a string of scandals and accusations of ‘toxic’ working culture.

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Three weeks ago, she claimed the mayor had said he had ‘total confidence’ in her.

Met Police commissioner on notice after 'shocking' findings by watchdog
FILE PHOTO: Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan stand at the Royal Military Chapel in Westminster on November 29, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Victoria Jones – Pool/Getty Images)

According to MailOnline, Dame Cressida was called to a meeting with the mayor at 4.30 pm on Thursday (10) over the reforms but declined to attend and offered her resignation instead, catching the Home Office by surprise.

Khan did not inform Patel of his intention to request a meeting with the commissioner, the report added.

Patel was not impressed by this and thought it was ‘rude and unprofessional’,” the MailOnline report, quoting Home Office sources, said.

We got no notice. The Home Secretary found out when the commissioner rang to say she was resigning. It is not helpful, but I’m afraid we have a political mayor playing politics with the police. Did he even tell the Palace? The commissioner is appointed by the Queen,” sources told the media outlet.

It could be quite destabilising. How does this square with the fact that just last year he was arguing she should be given a three-year contract extension? The mayor owes the people of London an explanation.”

The home secretary will oversee the appointment of the new commissioner. However, the process requires her to consult the mayor, who said he would be ‘working closely’ with the home secretary to find a successor.

According to a report in the Telegraph, Sir Keir Starmer had also not been informed of Met chief’s departure in advance.

Dame Cressida has faced a series of scandals during her time leading the Met — most recently concerning violently racist, misogynist and homophobic messages exchanged by officers based at Charing Cross police station that were published by a watchdog.

Earlier, Patel had blamed ‘failures of leadership’ for the rotten culture at the Met, including by the commissioner herself.

There was also fury over the rape and murder of Sarah Everard by depraved cop Wayne Couzens, as well as the force’s heavy-handed actions following her death in tackling a Clapham Common vigil held in her memory during Covid restrictions. It also issued a piece of clumsy advice telling women in trouble to flag down a passing bus that later had to be retracted.

Dame Cressida’s critics praised her resignation last night, calling it ‘long overdue’.

She began her career in London as a constable before holding a variety of posts on her way to becoming Scotland Yard’s first female chief. But, her leadership of the force came under mounting public scrutiny following a number of controversies.

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