Tory mayoral contender slams ‘utterly appalling’ treatment of ex-Met chief by Khan

Susan Hall refuses to say whether Cressida Dick should have stayed in post amid the controversy over racism and sexism in the Metropolitan Police, reports Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

Former Mte commissioner Cressida Dick (left) and Tory mayoral candidate Susan Hall (right, credit LDRS/Noah Vickers)
Former Met commissioner Cressida Dick (left) and Tory mayoral candidate Susan Hall (right, credit LDRS/Noah Vickers)

Susan Hall has refused to say whether she believes Dame Cressida Dick should have stayed in post as Metropolitan Police commissioner.

The Tory mayoral candidate, who has made policing the central focus of her campaign, declined to say whether she agreed with Sadiq Khan’s loss of confidence in Dame Cressida, which led to her resignation in February 2022.

But she did say that the manner with which Khan conveyed his lack of confidence in her was “utterly appalling”.

Khan said he had lost confidence in Dame Cressida amidst a growing number of scandals related to misogyny and racism in the police force. Sir Mark Rowley was appointed as her replacement.

Shortly before her resignation, violently racist, misogynist and homophobic messages exchanged by officers based at Charing Cross police station were published by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) watchdog.

But asked by the Local Democracy Reporting Service whether Dame Cressida should still be in the role, Hall said that her “real issue” with the matter was “the disrespectful way in which he dealt with Cressida Dick”, which she called “utterly appalling”.

Referring to an independent report by Sir Tom Winsor, which found that Khan presented Dame Cressida with “an ultimatum”, the Conservative candidate said: “Nobody should do that to somebody who works with them, [or] for them. It’s just unacceptable.”

Asked whether she objected in principle to Dick being replaced, she said: “Whoever is there, I will work with. It was the way Sadiq Khan treated her, [that] was an utter disgrace.”

She added: “The decision wasn’t mine. It was the way he dealt with the situation [which] was utterly wrong.”

Asked whether she – in her capacity as a London Assembly member – had also lost confidence in Dick, she said: “I didn’t see some of the things that perhaps he [the mayor] saw. I have no idea.

“My view at the time and I made it absolutely clear, is that nobody should treat somebody with that amount of disrespect – well, with any disrespect, let alone the amount he does.

“But that’s what he does. He doesn’t think about other people, he doesn’t listen to people, and that just shows his contempt for everybody else – shocking.”

In Sir Tom’s independent report, the Labour mayor is said to have given Dick “an ultimatum” to attend a meeting where she would have to convince him about her plans for the force, otherwise he would release a statement “making it clear that he no longer had trust and confidence” and would begin the “statutory process” to remove her.

Sir Tom wrote: “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.”

He said she was “intimidated by this process into stepping aside”, and “the commissioner felt that, in the interests of Londoners and the Metropolitan Police, she had to ‘step aside’, as a prelude to her eventual resignation”.

The report found that City Hall had given Dame Cressida 30 minutes to make a decision – and it concluded that Khan did not follow “due process” when he withdrew his support for her in this way.

Khan said Sir Tom’s report, published in September 2022, was “clearly biased” and “ignores the facts”.

He added at the time: “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 London mayoral election will take place on 2nd May, along with elections to the London Assembly.

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