Cressida Dick has been appointed as London’s new police commissioner and becomes the first woman to head the Metropolitan police, the UK’s largest police force.
Formerly the Met’s head of counter-terrorism, Dick currently works at the Foreign Office but will return to the force to take over from Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe as Britain’s most senior police officer.
Her appointment was confirmed by Home Secretary Amber Rudd after she and London Mayor Sadiq Khan interviewed a shortlist of four which also included Met assistant commissioner Mark Rowley, Stephen Kavanagh, Chief Constable of Essex police, and Sara Thornton, head of the National Police Chiefs’ Council.
Dick’s return to the Met will be controversial in some quarters given her involvement in the 2005 operation in which armed officers mistook Jean Charles de Menezes for a suicide bomber and shot him dead. She was later exonerated of any responsibility for the error.
Rudd said: “Cressida Dick is an exceptional leader, and has a clear vision for the future of the Metropolitan Police and an understanding of the diverse range of communities it serves.
“I am delighted Her Majesty has agreed my recommendation after a rigorous recruitment process which highlighted the quality of senior policing in this country.
“Cressida’s skills and insight will ensure the Metropolitan Police adapt to the changing patterns of crime in the twenty-first century and continue to keep communities safe across London and the UK.”
After her appointment was confirmed, Ms Dick said: “I am thrilled and humbled. This is a great responsibility and an amazing opportunity.
“I’m looking forward immensely to protecting and serving the people of London and working again with the fabulous women and men of the Met. Thank you so much to everyone who has taught me and supported me along the way.”
Mayor Khan said: “Cressida Dick will be the first female Commissioner of the Met in its 187-year history, and the most powerful police officer in the land. She has already had a long and distinguished career, and her experience and ability has shone throughout this process.
“On behalf of all Londoners, I warmly welcome Cressida to the role and I very much look forward to working with her to keep our capital safe and protected.
“The Metropolitan Police do an incredible job, working hard with enormous dedication every single day to keep Londoners safe, so for me it was absolutely essential that we found the best possible person to take the Met forward over the coming years and I am confident that we have succeeded.”
Caroline Pidgeon, a Liberal Democrat member of the London Assembly, said: “The Metropolitan Police was founded by Robert Peel who declared 188 years ago that the police are the public and the public are the police.
“Today it feels as if that principle is finally being put into practice with the capital at long last having a woman Commissioner.
“Cressida Dick takes over the running of the Met when it probably faces some of its greatest challenges in its long history.”
Steve O’Connell AM, Chair of the Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee which scrutinises the Met, said: “On behalf of the Committee I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome the new Commissioner.
“London faces challenging times; the terrorism threat level for the UK remains at severe; violent crimes among young people are rising; and increasingly complex and serious offences are placing new demands on officers.
“These challenges come at a time when London’s population continues to grow, and the funding available to the Met is expected to shrink.
“We look forward to meeting the Commissioner and hearing the plans she has for taking the country’s biggest police force forward and confronting the demands ahead.”