The Met’s Deputy Commissioner has accused Sadiq Khan of ousting Cressida Dick without due process in a dramatic escalation of the feud between Scotland Yard and City Hall.
Sir Stephen House said Dick’s departure had ignored the procedures outlined in legislation, with her removal instead being “played out in the media”.
He has written to Priti Patel, the home secretary, asking her to investigate further – before pointing the finger at Khan in a series of pointed criticisms of his approach.
Sir Stephen said that text messages from Charing Cross which sparked Dick’s resignation, showing racist and misogynistic behaviour by a number of officers, “cannot have been a surprise” to Khan – because his office had been briefed on them previously.
He added that Khan had been a “strong advocate” of handing Dick a three-year contract extension last year – and has long been a “vocal supporter” of her, in meetings as recent as a few weeks ago.
‘Due process not followed’
“I feel deeply disappointed,” Sir Stephen told a meeting of City Hall’s police and crime committee.
“There is a clear procedure laid down in statute to allow for the replacement of a police chief officer. It’s not been followed in this instance, it’s not even been initiated, due process has not been followed and instead we’ve seen matters played out in the media.
“Because of this, I’ve written to the Home Secretary to ask her to carry out a review of what’s happened in this case.”
He added: “As well as feeling deeply disappointed, I’m very surprised. Many of us are. Only a few months ago, the Mayor was a strong advocate for a three year extension for this Commissioner.
“The Charing Cross messages cannot have been a surprise to this Mayor. The Mayor’s office for policing and crime have been briefed on these events and they have been under investigation for four years.
“Only a few weeks ago the Mayor was a vocal supporter of the Commissioner in a tripartite meeting with the Home Secretary, hence my surprise at what’s happened.”
‘Urgent action needed’
Sir Stephen handed that Dick was the outstanding police officer of her generation and, his voice cracking, he claimed that he had “never worked with a finer, more ethical, more professional, more resolute and dutiful, more caring leader.”
In response, Deputy Mayor of London Sophie Linden cited a survey which showed around half of 12,000 people polled said they did not have confidence in the Met – down from 68 per cent when Dick became commissioner in 2017.
Linden said: “It was clear to the mayor that urgent action needed to be taken and through the discussions and the follow-up correspondence from the commissioner, the mayor was very clear that he was not satisfied with the scale and the urgency of the response to particular things.
“One of which was an acceptance of the scale of the problem within the Metropolitan Police, but also a comprehensive plan to re-establish trust and confidence in Londoners.”