London Met Police chief Cressida Dick resigns after controversies

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  • Dick resigns after losing confidence of London mayor
  • First woman to lead Met steps down with 'huge sadness'
  • Force hit by damaging revelations of officer behaviour

LONDON, Feb 10 (Reuters) - London police chief Cressida Dick resigned on Thursday, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said, after he told her he was not satisfied she could root out the racism, sexism and other problems that still existed within the force.

Confidence in the Metropolitan Police has been shaken by the abduction, rape and murder of a woman, Sarah Everard, by one of its officers, and recent revelations of a culture of bullying, racial discrimination and misogyny in a central London police station. read more

Khan said he had made clear to Dick the scale of the change he believed was urgently required to rebuild Londoners' trust in the Met and to expunge racism, sexism, homophobia, bullying, discrimination and misogyny from it.

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"I am not satisfied with the Commissioner's response," he said, adding that on being informed of this, Dick had offered her resignation.

"It's clear that the only way to start to deliver the scale of the change required is to have new leadership right at the top of the Metropolitan Police," Khan said.

Dick said she was left with no choice but to stand down.

"It is with huge sadness that following contact with the Mayor of London today, it is clear that the Mayor no longer has sufficient confidence in my leadership to continue," she said.

Dick, an experienced counter-terrorism officer, was the first woman to lead London's 193-year-old police force, also known by the name of its Scotland Yard headquarters.

Interior Minister Priti Patel had extended her contract in September.

DAMAGED CONFIDENCE

Dick said Everard's murder and "many other awful cases recently" had damaged confidence, but the force had turned its full attention to rebuilding trust.

Khan singled out Dick's reaction to the report on the behavior of 14 serving police officers at Charing Cross Police for making her position untenable.

"The response from the Commissioner wasn't up to the scale of the change required in the Met Police Service," he told broadcasters.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Twitter that Dick had "served her country with great dedication and distinction over many decades".

Patel, who will be responsible for choosing Dick's replacement, said earlier this month there were problems with the culture of the force.

On Thursday, however, she said Dick had undertaken her duties "with a steadfast dedication to protecting our capital city and its people - including during the unprecedented period of the pandemic".

The choice of her successor has political ramifications because the Met is investigating parties at the centre of Johnson's government during the pandemic for breaches of lockdown laws.

Khan, who is in the opposition Labour Party, said he could not comment on the parties' investigation because it was an operational matter.

But he said he recognized the huge public interest in allegations because Britain policed by consent.

"Intrinsic to policing by consent is the public having confidence in our police officers," he said.

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Editing by John Stonestreet and Richard Chang

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