Goodbye Cressida Dick — and good riddance
She was the first woman to lead the Met, but her mistakes were catastrophic
Cressida Dick, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, has just been forced to resign by Sadiq Khan. I first became aware of her when my partner, Harriet Wistrich was representing the family of Jean Charles de Menezes. He was an innocent man, but police shot him dead in London in a case of mistaken identity. Dick was the officer in charge of the operation, but did not face any consequences for her role in the tragedy.
During the case, I got to know some of de Menezes’ family members, including Maria Otoni de Menezes, Jean Charles’ mother, who I interviewed after the 2008 inquest. I still recall her distress at the fact that Dick had not just kept her job following her son’s death but had been promoted through the ranks.
Like what you’re reading? Get the free UnHerd daily email
Already registered? Sign in
Cressida Dick is an out lesbian and the first woman to rise to the top of policing ranks — an impressive accomplishment. That she has made monumental and catastrophic errors should not serve as an excuse for the offensive banter I often hear, including childish skits on her name. It is possible for a woman to be both the victim of bigotry and at serious fault herself. Both of these things can be true at the same time. It is possible that in order to survive and thrive in such a male-dominated profession, Dick protected her officers rather more vehemently than she should have done. But the fact is that her primary loyalty should have been to Londoners, not officers.
During Dick’s tenure, the public has been deluged with stories of sexual and domestic violence committed by serving police officers; a failure to police such crimes among civilians; and clear evidence of appalling racism, misogyny and homophobia among officers of all ranks. As a result, faith and trust in the Metropolitan police is at rock bottom. Why Dick did not use her tenure as Met Police Commissioner to begin the process of root-and-branch reform? Instead, under her command, whistle-blowers were either silenced or punished. Her most shameful moment surely was in her description of Wayne Couzens as a ‘bad apple’.
After the Savile scandal in 2011, victims and their families accused the Met of ignoring or covering up allegations of abuse, and in doing so failing to prosecute one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders. In response, the Met instituted a policy of automatically believing victims who report sex crimes. But in 2018, Dick announced that the Met would be abandoning this policy. She has presided over mounting evidence of multiple allegations of abuse and police failures to tackle violence against women and racism, but nothing has changed.
Who will take her place? Is there anyone that has the genuine desire and ability to tackle the rotten culture at Britain’s largest police force, and to bring about real change in the institution? I can’t say that I’m holding my breath.
police shot him dead in London in a case of mistaken identity.
And then lied about it. Let’s not forget that: when exposed, their reflex was to lie.
an out lesbian and the first woman to rise to the top of policing ranks — an impressive accomplishment
Not at all. She rose to the top of policing ranks because she’s an out lesbian and a woman, not despite these facts. Absolutely any out lesbian or woman would have done; those were her qualifications That merit played no part in her ascent is clear from how she has performed in every senior role she’s had, as you have set out. You could write a similar article about Alison Saunders.
the offensive banter I often hear, including childish skits on her name
Someone should really take these in hand.
During ʞɔᴉp’s tenure, the public has been deluged with stories of sexual and domestic violence committed by serving police officers; a failure to police such crimes among civilians; and clear evidence of appalling racism, misogyny and homophobia among officers of all ranks.
One possibility is that her officers were disgusted and demoralised by the appointment of a cardboard political appointee, obviously unfit for the role other than on neo-Marxist grounds. Perhaps they have concluded that if they’re to grovel to scum like Extinction Rebellion, instead of giving them a hiding they’ll never forget, they’re not really the police any more. If the standards of leadership can slip that low, why should they maintain their own? The USSR’s police were thuggish and corrupt because of who controlled them; we are seeing the thin end of the same wedge.
Why ʞɔᴉp did not use her tenure as Met Police Commissioner to begin the process of root-and-branch reform?
Because she’s incompetent. She was appointed only because she is a lesbian and a woman.
What is your evidence for all that incompetence? The main accusation from JB seems to be that she remained loyal to her police colleagues, and did *not* rearrange the Met on more feminist, BLM, and always-believe-the-victim lines. The politics of being a woman will surely have helped her (much as I am sure factional politics play a part in any promotion in the police), but for all I know she has been a competent and respected cop.
The purpose of a police force is to solve and prevent crime. That is never an easy thing to do, to be fair to them, but the test is to what extent the Met has improved, or not, under her leadership. The statistics seem fairly clear on that.
So perhaps not a competent cop, and whilst I believe she is respected by her colleagues, it is public respect that is the true test.
And yet, anybody forced out by this incompetent self serving and utterly useless Mayor must deserve some respect, don’t you think?
It’s not a police force any longer, but a police service!
Can any police commissioner ever succeed, whatever their competence when they are constantly battered this way and that by partisan politicians and an irresponsible press. I hold no animosity towards Cressida d**k (and I accept, not living within her jurisdiction, that those who do might). But, much as I admire JB, I think perhaps her judgement is a little harsh.
You haven’t been paying attention.
I think you might like to read the report into the shooting of de Menezes if you want evidence of incompetence. One fact which has always stuck in my mind is that on the day of the shooting, the Operations Room at HQ was full of people who had no business being there and who were making so much noise that the people trying to direct the officers on the ground had difficulty hearing the incoming communications. D**k was not there, apparently, which in itself raises questions, but as gold commander I would say the least which could be expected of her was that the Operations Room should be properly run.
Brilliant comment, Jon. What you describe about low leadership standards can easily be applied to education.
“the offensive banter I often hear, including childish skits on her name.
Someone should really take these in hand.”
Thank you for that, made my day.
d**k was the facade that eventually crumbled. The appointment of a lesbian to the top job allowed the Met to claim that the organisation must be changing. All the time racists and homophobes who thought violence against women was a laughing matter continued to serve and be promoted.
Yes, amazingly the fact she went to Dragon School and Oxford seems to be ignored when considering her “impressive accomplishments”.
Peter Hitchens uses the term “paramilitary social workers” to describe the police these days. I think he’s nailed it.
Oddly no mention of her collusion with BLM rioters or her acquiescence with the knife slaughter of young black men.
Oh God, not more hysterical whingeing from Julie Bindel. Prosecute more people, prosecute fewer, depending on what fashionable Leftist cause comes first at any given moment.
The Met Police deserve criticism, but they don’t work in a political and social vacuum. In the Sarah Everard protests, for example, they were told to enforce the Covid laws, then the lickspittle politicians as usual scuttled to the opposite position as soon as some bad publicity comes along.
A couple of thoughts. Is it really likely to be the case in 2022 that misogyny and racism are rampant throughout the police force? And, how likely is it that police constantly under attack from all sides are going to go that extra mile to fight crime? Especially when their job is often stressful and much more dangerous than anything most of us would like to do.
You need also need evidence to prosecute crimes, not just outrage.
By the way, “Responder” on BBC, seems a refreshing ‘unwoke’ drama -so far at least – (2 episodes) – and rather brilliantly imho how difficult the job of the front line police can be, and the moral dilemnas often entailed.
Bloody hell what did I just read?
A load of old rubbish by Bindel who still doesn’t get it that Cressida was appointed because she was a box-tick and not despite it.
The idea she represents her officers over Londoners out of some blind loyalty and not that it has everything to do with pursuing an ideological agenda is laughable. Couzens did what he did because somewhere a fellow officer was arresting someone for writing something online that breaches the Equality Act in whatever way that same arresting officer sees fit.
Certainly nothing ‘Unherd’ about this pile of garbage. Just the sort of mainstream partisan thoughtless tripe we read everywhere else. Rushed out no doubt.
Perhaps someone disinterested, that is without connections to lawyers representing aggrieved complainants, will take a long hard look at the relentless amount of ‘police reforms’ of the last 30 years or so driven by politicians and the legal profession with tame Chief Officers like CD inserted to meet the political agendas of the time which have brought us to where we are.
A good start would be the abandonment of the foot beat patrol model and the commensurate growth of the fast-track senior officer class. Fast-track meaning that they moved before they’ve made a mistake, or learned anything. Sadly that’s all we have now.
They have NO officers! They are all chippy other ranks… don’t put the milk bottle on the table at tea, mind….
Blimey! There are some vitriolic comments here. It seems a perfectly reasonable article to me. I can’t agree with every morsel, but the main message – that CD could and should have done better all round – is clear and unequivocal.
I wish UnHerd commentary hadn’t turned into the media-storm style that has taken hold. What’s wrong with sticking to serious comments (though a little humour never hurts ) instead of hurling insults and invective?
Yes some replies unfair. Balanced piece I thought
her primary loyalty should have been to Londoners, not officers
Which Londoners, though? Faith and trust in the police may be at rock bottom among feminist activists, but you are not the only group around. A lot of people will have welcomed her stopping the disastrous ‘always believe the victim’; policy that gave us operation Midland and the source ‘Nick’.
As for de Menezes, it was certainly shameful that the police could gun down an unarmed innocent man without ever having to admit even that they had done anything wrong. Someone ought to have carried the can for that, but was that someone Cressida d**k? Near as I can see, the guilt should fall on whoever briefed the firearms officers, effectively ordering them to go into the underground and liquidate de Menezes on sight without even checking whether he might be armed or not.
I was under the impression that was an oxymoron. This is the equivalent of the Pope stating there is no such thing as original sin.
Can Julie, or anybody, explain why a book has never been written about the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes and the aftermath. I would hope for suggestions beyond the ‘establishment’ circling the wagons around a rising, box ticking star. Why has no one like Pilger or David Rose looked into the matter?
An odd argument, perhaps! There is no reason why you should not write such a book if you think there is a need for one. I, for one, would likely read that book.
I do not think there is any author with the practical experience. I suggest that the author would need to be Police fire arms expert or someone with military urban combat experience. The only person I could think of was the late Sir Charles Wheeler who was No 2 of 30 Assault Unit which was a Commando Unit in WW2.
Reading the IPPC Report Stockwell 1 is alarming. The first cases of urban terrorism start in Europe around 1968 become extensive the by the mid 1970s yet basic mistakes are made by the Police in 2005 at Stockwell. The most basic mistakes were incorrect identification of person and misinterpretation of words spoken by Police Officers.
So what’s new? The British police force system is a veritable altar to lower middle class mediocrity, and masonic influence….Not that others round the world are any better:
Somehow this comment brings back memories of The Thin Blue Line.
To clarify: does JB believe that the police should always assume that an alleged victim is telling the truth? Has the Beech case been forgotten?
If what they’re alleging is about a man, I’d guess that’s exactly 100% what she believes.
Here’s a good example of JB’s “thinking” – an Unherd article she wrote in which her conclusions are based entirely on her sexist prejudices.
I fisked this at the time by offering an alternative view that fitted the same facts equally, or more, plausibly. My comments didn’t go over especially well here back then, but now we’ve heard so much more from JB in the same vein, I wonder if that would still be the case today.
Well done to all – got rid of her. Now what?
Well done when getting rid of BJ in due course. What then?
Ridiculously high and puritan expectations of our leaders are never, never, going to be met as perfect individuals don’t exist.
Maybe we should put Jesus in charge?
Your argument was always bound to fail as an excuse for catastrophic incompetence.
And Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world.
We did, in the dark ages. His minions at least, they are still here, desperate to take charge again….
We need to decide on the nature of the threats facing London and then the qualities of the Police required to prevent them occurring. Unless we make accurate and precise assessments, talk of reform is pointless.
Below is a video about 45 Commando. Here is an organisation which has an clear precise and accurate assessment of it’s role and the skills skills required of it’s people. What should be in the video for the Metropolitan Police?
Royal Marines | Forging the Arctic Commando – YouTube
Julie Bindel wants to reinstate “Always believe the victim”. What possible justification can there be for that? Always take complaints seriously. Always investigate them promptly and competently, of course. But why assume a verdict of guilty before the case has been brought to court?
d**k’s allegiance isn’t to her officers, it’s to her ridiculous ideology which is enforced across the entire West. Just look at London’s crime rates. Specifically sexual and violent attacks which don’t seem to ever abate. Her officers ran rampant precisely because they WERE the enforcers of this ideology that fails Londoners but keeps the right people happy.
Join the discussion
To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.
Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.Subscribe