By Bill Rowlings, CEO of CLA
The outgoing London Metropolitan police commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick, has claimed the “politicisation of policing” was responsible for her demise as head of Britain’s biggest police force.
Like similar responses among police commissioners in Australia, the suggestion was it was everyone else’s fault, not hers, when police failed the community.
As politicians no longer accept responsibility for mistakes in their portfolios, so is it with heads of authorities, such as police commissioners, CLA says.
For example, no police commissioner in Australia has ever stood down when his or her officers – by incompetence, or tunnel vision or planting evidence – have caused people to spend three to a dozen years in jail, wrongfully convicted because of the police.
Dick did not blame her own failure to deal with a culture of misogyny and racism within the force she led.
She was forced out as head of the Met when London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, accused her of failing to deal with a culture of misogyny and racism within her force.
The Guardian UK reported that Khan’s confidence in Dick reached breaking point when a scandal emerged at Charing Cross police station, where officers were found to have shared racist, sexist, misogynist and Islamophobic messages. Two of the officers investigated were promoted, while nine were left to continue serving.
The Met leadership’s handling of the murder of Sarah Everard in March 2021 by a serving Met officer also caused consternation in City Hall and government.
After her killer was sentenced to a whole-life term in September 2021, the Met leadership was expected to show it understood those concerns. Instead, it was mocked after saying that women who were worried about a police officer approaching them could wave down a bus and ask the bus driver for help.
Dick’s term ends formally on 24 April2 2022