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Cressida Dick resignation: Former senior Met Police officer hits out at London Mayor Sadiq Khan for public criticism of outgoing commissioner

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A former senior Metropolitan Police officer has condemned Mayor of London Sadiq Khan for his public criticism of Dame Cressida Dick as she announced her resignation as commissioner earlier this week.

Andy Trotter, former deputy assistant commissioner for public order at the Metropolitan Police, said the mayor’s pressure on the outgoing commissioner after his loss of confidence in her leadership should not have played out in public.

“I don’t agree with the way it was done. I think if you are going to talk to, essentially your chief executive if you are the chair of an organisation, you don’t do that in public,” he told LBC.

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Dame Cressida’s resignation

“You don’t say that you have got weeks and days to sort this out. You don’t play to the newspapers while you are trying to do this. You talk to them. You talk your way through that plan and if that plan is not up to scratch you tell them privately that this is time to go.

“I think that the way this has been played out in public has been deeply unhelpful.”

Minister questions Khan’s ‘volte-face’

The former top Scotland Yard officer’s comments came as Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis described the situation regarding Mr Khan’s involvement in Dame Cressida’s departure as “rather odd”.

“I think he should’ve been consulting with the home secretary, bearing in mind this is a man who just a couple of months ago extended Cressida Dick’s contract,” Mr Lewis told Times Radio.

“For me, yes, I think he should’ve been talking to and working with the home secretary, particularly so close to a time he extended a contract himself – it does seem to be a rather odd position for him to have taken.”

Asked if he thought the mayor was playing politics, he responded: “Possibly, to be frank.”

The Great Debate is on Sky News at 9pm on Monday
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The Great Debate is on Sky News at 9pm on Monday

He also suggested that Mr Khan was “very keen” to appoint Dame Cressida but now “seems to have had a volte-face in just the last week”.

Meanwhile, London’s mayor has vowed to oppose the appointment of a new Met Police chief unless they are prepared to urgently tackle cultural problems within the force.

Writing in The Observer on Sunday, Mr Khan warned that Dame Cressida’s successor must have a “proper and robust plan” to deal with the Met’s shortcomings.

Met Police problems will not be solved ‘overnight’

This message was reiterated by former HM Inspector of Constabulary Zoe Billingham, who told Sky News that whoever becomes the new Metropolitan Police commissioner will have to deal with “a real cultural issue” in the force that can not be fixed overnight.

She told Trevor Phillips On Sunday: “Whoever the incoming commissioner is, they will have a very, very full inbox. They will have precisely the same problems that Cressida was contending with to deal with.

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What is the future of the police?

“The problem is that at the root of this there is a real cultural issue in the Met that needs to be unpacked, unpicked and dealt with. We know that is not going to happen overnight but that needs to be at the top of the new commissioner’s inbox.”

Dame Cressida announced she would be leaving the role earlier in February after Mr Khan declared that “the only way to start to deliver the scale of the change required is to have new leadership right at the top”.

In his newspaper piece, the mayor pointed to a string of scandals that have engulfed the force in recent years.

Read more: The controversies presided over by Dame Cressida Dick

Mr Khan spoke of his disgust and anger after evidence of racism, sexism, homophobia and bullying was uncovered among officers serving at Charing Cross station – with nine of those involved still working within the force.

He also highlighted “serious incidents” including the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by a serving officer – and the way a peaceful vigil in her memory was policed.

Charing Cross Police Station
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A recent investigation largely focusing on Charing Cross police station uncovered racism, misogyny and harassment

The mayor said the Met’s current state reminded him of when trust in the police “was at rock bottom” in the 1970s and 1980s when he was a child growing up in London – and he described crossing the road after seeing officers on the beat “simply due to the fear of being unjustly targeted”.

Mr Khan also warned that a breakdown in trust between the police and the public makes it harder to tackle crime.

Patel says new police chief faces ‘stark’ challenges

Home Secretary Priti Patel has been tasked with deciding who should replace Dame Cressida, but she must take Mr Khan’s preference into account.

Read more: How will Dame Cressida Dick’s successor be chosen?

Writing in the Evening Standard on Friday, Ms Patel expressed her commitment to appointing the “right” person as the next commissioner and warned the next Metropolitan Police commissioner that they must tackle the “institutional issues” within the force.

Priti Patel is seeking to expand the government's Disregards and Pardons scheme from a narrow set of laws
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Priti Patel says the new Met leader must tackle the force’s ‘institutional issues’

“This is the biggest leadership role in policing. However, at this time, the challenges facing the new commissioner are stark,” Ms Patel wrote.

“Following a series of appalling incidents and too many historical cases involving serving Met Police officers, it is clear that strong and decisive new leadership will be required to restore public confidence in our largest police force.

“The public in London and across the entire country must once again have confidence in the integrity and professionalism of the police officers who serve them.”

She continued: “Policing culture and conduct have rightly come under scrutiny. Be in no doubt that a new leader must tackle these institutional issues.”

Tensions have arisen between Mr Khan and Ms Patel over Dame Cressida’s departure.

A Home Office source told Sky News that Mr Khan had not told Ms Patel of his intention to request a meeting with the commissioner before her dramatic resignation – and that Ms Patel had found this “rude and unprofessional”.

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