Under-fire Sadiq Khan faces calls to ‘consider his position’ after bombshell report found London Mayor ‘pressured’ Cressida Dick to break the law by sacking Charing Cross officers for political reasons before ‘forcing’ her to quit as Met chief
- Sir Thomas found Dame Cressida ‘felt intimidated’ following an ultimatum from Mayor of London Sadiq Khan
- Five years in the job saw a raft of scandals from the murder of Sarah Everard to wrongdoing at Charing Cross
- Report accused Mayor of encouraging Ms Dick to sack all the officers involved in the Charing Cross scandal
- This afternoon, Dame Cressida said it was ‘important politicians respect due process and do not break rules’
- But Mr Khan responded: ‘Londoners will be able to see that this review is clearly biased and ignores the facts’
- Conservative members of London Assembly called on him to make a formal apology at Mayor’s Question Time
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has faced calls to ‘consider his position’ after a report found that he ‘pressured’ Dame Cressida Dick to break the law.
The report by the former chief inspector of constabulary, Sir Thomas Winsor, has cast fresh light on the bitter feud between the pair during the Met chief’s last months in office, when Mr Khan once warned her ‘you’re in last chance saloon’.
It also found that he urged her to break the law by sacking all the police officers involved in the Charing Cross racism scandal to protect his own political fortunes, allegedly telling her in a meeting on February 2 that the public would support her if she sacked the officers, even if it meant paying compensation for wrongful dismissal.
And the war of words continued yesterday, with Dame Cressida directing a jab at the mayor by saying the report proved it was ‘important politicians respect due process and do not break rules’, as he hit back by referring to the ‘litany of terrible scandals’ under her watch.
Mr Khan said the review was ‘clearly biased’ and ‘ignores the facts’, while a source close to the mayor claimed that it was commissioned by the Conservative government and conducted by a friend of the former commissioner.
And now Conservative members of the London Assembly have demanded Mr Khan makes a formal apology at Mayor’s Question Time later this month.
Conservative chair of the police and crime committee Susan Hall urged him to ‘consider his position’, adding: ‘This independent report raises serious concerns about how the mayor treats senior staff, his lack of respect for due process, and his mismanagement of the Met Police.
‘For Sadiq Khan to respond to criticisms of his conduct by hurling baseless accusations of bias at the investigators proves their point entirely. He should take responsibility, reflect on his mistakes, and apologise.’
Conservative members of the London Assembly have demanded Mr Khan makes a formal apology after he accused the report into Cressida Dick’s resignation of being ‘biased’
The report by the former chief inspector of constabulary, Sir Thomas Winsor (pictured), cast fresh light on the bitter feud between the pair during the Met chief’s last months in office
In a 116-page report, the former chief inspector of constabulary Sir Tom accused Mr Khan of being more interested in his own political fortunes than the leadership of the Met, saying: ‘No political office-holder should ever seek to persuade or pressure an independent public servant to act contrary to the law, still less on the basis of political expediency.’
The report alleged that Mr Khan had made reference to the case of Baby P during his meeting with Dame Cressida in February, which resulted in the Government having to pay damages of more than £600,000 for wrongful dismissal to the head of children’s services at Haringey Council Sharon Shoesmith.
Sir Tom also criticised Mr Khan for not following due process prior to Ms Dick’s resignation in February this year.
He said: ‘I am required to provide an assessment of what happened and to say whether due process was followed in this case. In my view, it was not.’
Sir Tom found Dame Cressida ‘felt intimidated’ following an ultimatum from Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. Her decision to resign came after criticism from the mayor following a series of scandals. She officially left in April.
Her five years in the job saw public confidence in the police drop. Scandals included the kidnap and murder of marketing executive Sarah Everard by London policeman Wayne Couzens and the photographing of murdered sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman by Met officers.
Yet despite these issues, Mr Khan said at his last formal meeting with Dame Cressida on January 19, 2022 that the Met ‘was in the strongest position it had been in since the start of his mayoralty’, according to the report.
Sir Thomas found Dame Cressida ‘felt intimidated’ into resigning following an ultimatum from Mayor of London Sadiq Khan
London Mayor Sadiq Khan told the former head of the Metropolitan Police that it was a ‘last-chance saloon’ after a police officer was charged with rape days after Wayne Couzens’ sentencing, according to a new report.
Author Sir Tom Winsor said Mr Khan made the comments during a meeting on October 3 last year with Deputy Mayor Sophie Linden, Dame Cressida Dick and Deputy Commissioner Sir Stephen House. In his report, which was published on Friday, Sir Tom says Mr Khan was ‘particularly concerned’ an officer serving with the Met’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command was charged by Hertfordshire Constabulary with rape earlier that day.
The review said: ‘The Mayor was particularly concerned that the officer had been in the same team as Wayne Couzens, who had abducted, raped and murdered Sarah Everard in early 2021, and been sentenced for these offences in late September. There was some discussion about how the situation should be handled, both in relation to the media and to the relevant police unit.
‘At the end of the meeting, the Mayor said to the Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioner, ‘This is the last chance saloon. I worry about what is going to happen. You need to throw everything at this.”
The report, which analyses the circumstances surrounding Dame Cressida’s sudden departure from the force in February 2022, was commissioned by Home Secretary Priti Patel. It outlines the soured relationship between the former Met Police chief and the mayor in the months leading up to her resignation. Sir Tom’s conclusion states due process was not followed surrounding her exit and he found Dame Cressida ‘felt intimidated’ following an ultimatum from Mr Khan.
Elsewhere in the 116-page report, Sir Tom states:
– Following the October 3 meeting, Mr Khan spoke to Ms Patel and said he had previously had confidence in Dame Cressida as the head of the Met but this had now been ‘shaken’. Ms Patel said she still had confidence in her but wanted to continue the conversation
– By January 2022 relations had improved between Mr Khan and Dame Cressida, with the report stating he ‘praised the positive work that the Metropolitan Police had been doing’ and stated it was ‘in the strongest position it had been in since the start of his mayoralty’
– After the publication of the IOPC’s report into Charing Cross police station, known as Operation Hotton, Mr Khan and Dame Cressida had a private meeting on February 2 where he ‘insisted’ she should dismiss all the officers involved in the scandal
– When she responded she would be legally challenged, Mr Khan said: ‘You’re wrong. Your job is to uphold the criminal law. Don’t worry about the civil law. Let them JR (judicially review) you. The public will support it’
– Mr Khan denies the claims, and says he did not understand why they remained in their jobs and that she should seek external legal advice
– At the end of the meeting, Mr Khan said to Dame Cressida words to the effect that ‘one or other of us is going to end up being substituted’
Mr Khan has criticised the review, stating that it ‘clearly biased and ignores the facts’ and that he is expected to hold the Met Commissioner to account and ‘that’s exactly what I have done’.
Dame Cressida said: ‘I regret this report was necessary but I hope it will help create a sounder foundation for my successors.’
In response to Sir Tom’s report, former Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida said: ‘Leading the Met and serving the people of London was a wonderful privilege. My first priority was always their safety.
‘I regret this report was necessary but I hope it will help create a sounder foundation for my successors.
‘Sir Tom has written a highly detailed and forensic account of the circumstances surrounding my departure. He found the mayor did not follow due process and at times his behaviour was oppressive, unreasonable, entirely unacceptable and unfair.
‘At all times I sought to uphold the law and act ethically and with goodwill, professionalism, openness and trust. I fully respect the need for democratic oversight of policing. It is also important that politicians respect due process and do not break the rules.
‘I hope this report is an opportunity for others to reflect on how City Hall functions and is held to account. The Met is a fantastic police service that is admired across the world. It performs many important functions for London and the country. Its officers and staff face many challenges.
‘They can only succeed on a bedrock of independence and impartiality.’
Mr Khan responded: ‘Londoners will be able to see that this review is clearly biased and ignores the facts.
‘On the former commissioner’s watch, trust in the police fell to record lows following a litany of terrible scandals. What happened was simple – I lost confidence in the former commissioner’s ability to make the changes needed and she then chose to stand aside.
‘Londoners elected me to hold the Met commissioner to account and that’s exactly what I have done. I make absolutely no apology for demanding better for London and for putting the interests of the city I love first.
‘I will continue working with the new commissioner to reduce crime and to rebuild trust and confidence in the police.’
The report said: ‘In my view, in this case, the commissioner faced political pressure from the mayor to resign, that pressure being of a character and intensity which was effectively his calling on her to leave office, outside the established statutory procedure and contrary to the wider legislative scheme.’
Deputy Met Commissioner Sir Stephen House wrote to the Home Secretary ‘expressing grave misgivings due process not having been followed’ after Dame Cressida announced she would resign.
Sir Tom said: ‘I have concluded that he was correct,’ adding that ‘none of the statutory steps set out in section 48 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011’ were followed when the mayor called on Dame Cressida to resign.
He said Mr Khan, through his chief of staff, gave her an ‘ultimatum’ on February 10 2020, adding: ‘If the commissioner did not attend a meeting and convince the mayor that her plan of 4 February 2022 would be improved, he would make a statement to the media.
‘That statement would make clear that he no longer had trust and confidence in the commissioner, and that he intended to start the statutory process for her removal.
‘When the commissioner did not attend that meeting, the mayor’s chief of staff reiterated the mayor’s position and gave her less than one hour to decide what to do.
‘She felt intimidated by this process into stepping aside, and I can understand that.’
Dame Cressida’s decision to resign came after criticism from the mayor following a series of scandals. She officially left in April.
Her five years in the job saw public confidence in the police drop. Scandals included the kidnap and murder of marketing executive Sarah Everard by London policeman Wayne Couzens and the photographing of murdered sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman by Met officers.
Two months after Dame Cressida quit, the Met was placed in ‘special measures’ for the first time.
Mr Khan told Dame Cressida there was a ‘last-chance saloon’ after a Met officer was charged with rape following Mr Couzens’ sentencing.
‘There was some discussion about how the situation should be handled, both in relation to the media and to the relevant police unit.
‘At the end of the meeting, the Mayor said to the Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioner, ”This is the last chance saloon. I worry about what is going to happen. You need to throw everything at this.”’
Sir Tom slammed the Mayor of London for failing to follow due process prior to Ms Dick’s resignation in February this year
Dame Cressida announced her plan to step down in February after Mr Khan expressed his displeasure at her handling of the response to racist, misogynist and homophobic messages shared by a group of officers based at Charing Cross police station.
She left her post in April and she is due to be replaced by Sir Mark Rowley.
In June, the Met was placed in special measures by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services.
Acting Met Police Commissioner Sir Steve House said: ‘I welcome the publication of this report. I am pleased the Home Secretary was able to respond to my request for a review and I am grateful to Sir Tom Winsor for his thorough and impartial report.’
Meanwhile, Home Secretary Priti Patel said: ‘In thanking Sir Tom for his report, I hope now that those responsible for delivering policing in London – as well as those responsible for holding the Met to account – will concentrate their efforts on delivering safer streets for the capital and restoring integrity in policing.
‘Public confidence in the Met has been dented by a series of appalling incidents and it is vital that failings are addressed and professional standards restored to the level that Londoners deserve.
‘The police need to ensure that they get the basics right, which should include a relentless focus on cutting neighbourhood crime and the serious violence that has blighted too many communities.’
Cressida Dick’s ledger of failures: From the Met’s disastrous probe into fake VIP child sex abuse to Sarah Everard’s killing, the Daniel Morgan inquiry and ‘institutional racism, sexism and homophobia’
Dame Cressida Dick’s resignation marked the end of a controversial chapter in the history of the Metropolitan Police.
As Scotland Yard chief, Dame Cressida’s tenure was plagued by a series of scandals — from Sarah Everard’s killing by depraved cop Wayne Couzens, the Wembley security fiasco during the Euros and the force’s bungled probe into fake VIP sex abuse claims, to heavy-handed policing during the pandemic and allegations of racism, sexism, homophobia and ‘institutional corruption’.
Here, MailOnline examines the many failings which have marked Dame Cressida’s card.
Dame Cressida Dick’s shock resignation marked the end of a controversial chapter in the history of the Metropolitan Police
The Metropolitan Police has been mired in controversy since it launched an astonishing investigation into false allegations of child sex abuse at the heart of Westminster.
Named Operation Midland, detectives probing claims made by serial liar Carl ‘Nick’ Beech conducted dawn raids at high-profile addresses including the homes of D-Day hero Lord Bramall, Lord Brittan and former Tory MP Harvey Proctor.
Beech falsely claimed that he and other boys were raped and tortured in the 1970s and 1980s and that one young boy was even murdered by members of a VIP paedophile ring. He is now serving an 18-year prison sentence for 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one count of fraud.
Dame Cressida was also slammed by the families of victims of VIP paedophile ring fantasist Carl Beech, whose spurious allegations were investigated by police – ruining the lives and reputations of those he accused
Scotland Yard was heavily criticised in an independent review of the case by former High Court judge Sir Richard Henriques. His findings recommended that ‘offences of attempting to pervert the course of justice be considered’ against the two complainants, and this should be carried out by another police force.
In September 2019, Dame Cressida’s role in setting up the shambolic probe into alleged VIP child sex abuse and murder was revealed, but she declines to answer questions.
Two years later, Lady Brittan condemns the culture of ‘cover up and flick away’ in the Met and the lack of a moral compass among senior officers.
The same month a freedom of information request revealed an extraordinary spin campaign to ensure Dame Cressida was not ‘pulled into’ the scandal over the Carl Beech debacle.
Britain was shocked by the murder of Sarah Everard at the hands of depraved cop Couzens as she walked across Clapham Common in March last year.
A court heard that Couzens staged a fake arrest of Miss Everard using Covid emergency powers, before raping and killing her.
Dame Cressida faced public fury after it emerged that Scotland Yard may have missed multiple opportunities to sack or prosecute Couzens.
Couzens was reported to bosses for allegedly slapping a female colleague’s bottom at Bromley police station in 2018 — just weeks after he joined the force.
The news comes a week after Mr Khan said he was ‘not satisfied’ with the Met’s Commissioner’s response to calls for change following a series of scandals including the murder of Sarah Everard by serving officer Wayne Couzens
The Metropolitan Police commissioner faced calls for her resignation earlier this year after women were arrested at a vigil that was held in memory of Miss Everard
Shortly after starting at Bromley in South London, the married killer allegedly stopped a female motorist and said her tax and insurance were out of date before making a note of her address so he could later pull up outside her house and leer at her.
Couzens, whose former colleagues at the Civil Nuclear Constabulary nicknamed him ‘The Rapist’ because of how he is said to have made female colleagues uneasy, is also accused of parking his patrol car by schools so he could watch mothers and sixth-formers.
Dame Cressida faced calls to resign after officers conducted a heavy-handed crackdown on a vigil held for Miss Everard at Clapham Common after the 33-year-old’s death.
At the time, she defended the force’s actions and dismissed ‘armchair critics’, raging: ‘What has happened makes me more determined, not less, to lead my organisation.’
DANIEL MORGAN INQUIRY
Last summer, the force was branded ‘institutionally corrupt’ by an independent panel investigating police inquiries into the unsolved murder in the 1980s of private detective Daniel Morgan.
In its bombshell report, the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel concluded forms of police corruption had hampered both the murder inquiry, and its own work to investigate the reasons why the case was never solved. Singling out Dame Cressida for blame, the report said she had not given a ‘reasonable explanation’ for blocking access to computer data and delaying the release of files, the last of which were provided only in March.
A Home Office source said there were ‘serious concerns with the Met’s leadership and how it responded to failings’ — although Miss Patel and Boris Johnson later expressed confidence in Dame Cressida.
The commissioner apologised for past mistakes, saying: ‘It is a matter of great regret that no one has been brought to justice and that our mistakes have compounded the pain suffered by Daniel’s family. For that I apologise again now.
‘I have been personally determined that the Met provided the panel with the fullest level of co-operation in an open and transparent manner, with complete integrity at all times.’
But amid calls for her resignation at the time, Dame Cressida said: ‘I don’t believe we are institutionally corrupt. No, I don’t accept that. I have the deepest feelings for Daniel Morgan’s family. They have shown extraordinary grit and determination and courage.
Daniel Morgan was investigating claims of corruption within the Metropolitan Police when he was murdered in 1987 – and the force failed him and his family ever since. His brother Alastair told the media that Cressida Dick should resign
‘Yesterday, I apologised again to them for our failings and the fact that we have not brought anybody to justice despite six investigations and countless other reviews and pieces of work.’
She added: ‘And for the fact that, in so doing and along the way, we have clearly, we the Met, my force, of which I’m very proud to be the Commissioner, we have caused them extra anguish. But I don’t accept that we are institutionally corrupt, no.’
The independent panel led by Baroness Nuala O’Loan found that the Met had put protecting its own reputation above finding Mr Morgan’s killer.
The panel’s report said: ‘Concealing or denying failings, for the sake of the organisation’s public image, is dishonesty on the part of the organisation for reputational benefit and constitutes a form of institutional corruption.’
JEAN CHARLES DE MENEZES
In July 2005, Dame Cressida was in overall charge of the operation which saw electrician Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, shot dead on a Tube train in south London.
Mr de Menezes, a Brazilian working in the capital, was blasted in the head seven times by police at Stockwell station after being followed by officers from his home nearby.
Later inquiries heard he appeared to match the description of suspects whose bombs failed to detonate on the transport system the previous day. Their attempted attack followed the 7/7 atrocity which killed 52 people on Tubes and a bus in London earlier that month.
Dame Cressida was cleared of all blame by later inquiries, but Mr de Menezes’ family expressed ‘serious concerns’ when she was appointed Met Commissioner in 2017.
The top policewoman told the Mail in 2018: ‘It was an appalling thing — an innocent man killed by police. Me in charge. Awful for the family and I was properly held to account. We learned every lesson that was to be learned.
‘My job was to stand up and be counted, tell the truth and carry on. If police officers fell to pieces or resigned when operations didn’t go well, it wouldn’t send out a good message.’
A bombshell report by the IOPC watchdog exposed a cruel, toxic ‘boys club’ culture among officers at Charing Cross police station.
It found cops made rape jokes, boasted about domestic violence and made vile racist remarks in WhatsApp exchanges.
Grim texts between officers about raping women, killing black children, pedophilia, Muslims, Auschwitz and disabled people were also published in the watchdog’s report.
Last week, a former Met officer has come forward with new allegations of horrifying behaviour by officers at Charing Cross police station, including claims officers slept with female suspects and called black colleagues ‘monkeys’.
A ‘toxic’ culture existed at the Charing Cross Station dating back to 2006, said the former constable, who asked to be referred to by her first name, Liz
Further mock-ups of messages sent by a male officer during another shocking conversation on WhatsApp
A ‘toxic’ culture existed at the station dating back to 2006, said the former constable, who asked to be referred to by her first name, Liz.
The ex-officer said there was an ‘awful’ atmosphere at the station where men had sex with women in bathrooms, ‘mercilessly bullied’ a colleague and made ‘cruel and sexual comments’ about women in the street while senior leaders stayed silent.
She said her male colleagues were like ‘kids in a candy store’ given the station’s proximity to ‘pubs, bars and party culture’, with one sergeant bragging about seeing his favourite Russian escort at Spearmint Rhino.
The report sparked public fury and caused Mr Khan to put Dame Cressida ‘on notice’ to make serious reforms to the force. Days later, she resigned.
MET COPS SHARE PHOTOS OF MURDERED SISTERS
Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry were stabbed to death by Danyal Hussein in Fryent Country Park in Wembley, north London, in June 2020, while out celebrating a birthday.
However, a report by the Independent Office for Police Conduct found the level of service provided by the Met over the weekend when they went missing was ‘below the standard that it should have been’.
Met officers Jamie Lewis and Deniz Jaffer later admitted taking and sharing images of the scene where the sisters were murdered.
Dame Cressida said at the time: ‘My thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of Nicole and Bibaa for their tragic losses.
Bibaa Henry, 46, and Nicole Smallman, 27, who were stabbed to death in Wembley last year
‘The way we responded to information that Nicole and Bibaa were missing that weekend was below the standard we should have achieved and compounded the distress felt by their loved ones.
‘While we know that very sadly Nicola and Bibaa had been murdered in the early hours of Saturday, 6 June 2020, before they were reported missing. If we had responded better we may have saved their friends and family immeasurable pain.
‘I am very sorry that the level of service we provided fell short. We have contacted the family to ask if they will allow me or, if they prefer, another senior officer to visit them at a time that is right to apologise in person.’
However, the sisters’ mother Mina Smallman called on Dame Cressida to resign, asking: ‘This is the woman who is going to tackle what we are up against in the Met?’.
She added: ‘Time for her to go. Up until she did the statement after the missing persons, the failure, the neglect in that particular procedure, I was so disappointed by what she said.
‘She said ‘We have been advised in the report to apologise to the family’ and I thought to myself if you need to be told by an organisation, because she knew it was true she had all the evidence.’
STEPHEN PORT KILLINGS
Scotland Yard was accused of ‘institutional homophobia’ for allegedly repeatedly dismissing fears that the murders of four young gay men by serial killer Stephen Port could be linked.
John Pape, who said he had a ‘whirlwind friendship’ with Slovakian Gabriel Kovari in summer 2014, said he provided the Metropolitan Police with information he thought might link the deaths in Barking, east London.
By September of that year, depraved killer Port had murdered Anthony Walgate, Mr Kovari and Daniel Whitworth by plying them with fatal doses of the drug GHB and dumping their bodies near his home.
Stephen Port, who will spend the rest of his life behind bars for murdering four men and sexually assaulting several others, began taking GHB in late 2013
Two of Port’s four victims were Jack Taylor (left), 25, and Daniel Whitworth (right), 21
Anthony Walgate (left) and Gabriel Kovari (right) were also victims of Port
At the inquests into the deaths at Barking Town Hall, Mr Pape said he tracked down Mr Kovari’s former boyfriend, Thierry Amodio, who was told by another man — later established to be Port, seeking to distance himself from the investigation — that the men were drugged at orgies involving older men.
But Mr Pape said police seemed to ignore his attempts to provide them with information. It came as the detective appointed to speak with Mr Kovari’s family admitted having never done so, saying she was ‘busy’.
In December, Dame Cressida apologised to the family of a victim of Port. She told Mr Walgate’s mother: ‘I am sorry, both personally and on behalf of The Met — had police listened to what you said, things would have turned out a lot differently.’
EURO 2020 WEMBLEY FIASCO
On Dame Cressida’s watch, ticketless football hooligans broke past Wembley’s security barriers during the Euros 2020 last year and stormed the grounds ahead of England’s clash with Italy.
The Met was accused of not having enough officers on duty to create a ‘ring of steel’ around he venue to hold back the frenzied England supporters.
At the time, Sadiq Khan said: ‘It was not right what happened on Sunday — not just at Wembley, but across our city with the hooligans, from outside London, breaking the law in Leicester Square, Liverpool Street, Trafalgar Square, Wembley, and so forth.
The Met faced criticism following violence at Wembley Stadium at the final of the Euro 2020 Championships
‘The FA are reviewing their arrangements at Wembley, the Met Police Service will take part in that review.
‘The Met Police Service as we speak are sifting through the CCTV and body-worn videos. Already, 86 arrests have been made. I’d remind people that 19 police officers were injured. It’s really important that those responsible for criminal behaviour are arrested, charged and prosecuted.
‘What’s also really important, that I say loudly and clearly: the police have my full confidence and full support. One of my jobs as the mayor is to provide scrutiny of the police service to help provide the checks and balances in a vibrant democracy.
‘The police should be properly policed and often that there are difficult conversations between me as mayor and the senior team at the Met Police Service, but they have got my full support.’
LONDON BRIDGE & EXTINCTION REBELLION
In 2017 Dame Cressida was criticised for her choice of words after she said the victims of the London Bridge terror attack demonstrated London’s ‘diversity’.
The officer added: ‘We believe, of course, that that’s what makes our city so great. It’s a place where the vast majority of time it’s incredibly integrated and that diversity gives us strength.’
In 2019 the Met under Dame Cressida’s leadership was widely criticised for its ‘light-touch’ policing of Extinction Rebellion protests.The environmental demonstrators were allowed to blockade key areas of the capital for days, including Westminster Bridge and Oxford Circus.
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