As Cressida Dick confirmed she will be leaving Scotland Yard in the coming weeks, those affected by the controversies during her tenure welcomed her resignation.
“The first time I dealt with Cressida Dick was in 2012 and since then all she has done in relation to my family is just delay, obstruct and disappoint on a huge level,” said Alastair Morgan, who has spent decades campaigning for justice for his murdered brother.
The private detective Daniel Morgan was killed with an axe in a pub car park in Sydenham, south-east London, in 1987. The Met was described as “institutionally corrupt” and Dick was personally censured for obstruction by an independent inquiry.
Morgan continued: “Although I think it is a shame that we are seeing another commissioner disappear under a cloud of smoke, it is necessary. My only anxiety now is who is going to replace her and face the massive job in front of them of rebuilding confidence in the Met.”
Dick has also faced criticism of failure to act on complaints of institutional sexism and misogyny within the Met’s ranks.
When Sarah Everard’s killer, a serving Met officer, was sentenced to a whole-life term in September 2021, the Met leadership was mocked for saying that women who were worried about an officer approaching them could wave down a bus.
Dick was also criticised for her handling of a vigil held for Everard which resulted in clashes and arrests. Patsy Stevenson, who was detained, said she was pleased Dick had stepped down.
She added, however: “We need to focus as well on this not being a token gesture. This does not fix anything, and I just hope that whoever is in charge next understands that radical change needs to be implemented to fix the systemic issues within the Met.”
Campaign group Reclaim These Streets, which is bringing a legal challenge against the force over its handling of the vigil, simply tweeted: “Good riddance.”
Meanwhile, the feminist group Sisters Uncut said: “Cressida Dick is resigning but she is leaving behind an institution that is rotten to the core.”
Other scandals had included the handling of the murders of sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman in a north London park in June 2020.
Two PCs who were stationed at the crime scene were jailed for taking photographs of their bodies and sharing them with friends and colleagues on WhatsApp.
The force’s apologies were angrily rejected by their family. In her victim impact statement their mother, Mina Smallman, said: “Those police officers felt so safe, so untouchable, that they felt they would take photographs with our murdered daughters.” She also believed racism was a factor in the lack of initial search by the force when the women were reported missing.
It also emerged that a Met officer disciplined after an inquiry into misogynistic and racist messages was promoted. Messages about hitting and raping women were shared by up to 19 officers based mainly at Charing Cross police station.
Harriet Wistrich, director of the Centre for Women’s Justice charity, said: “There were far too many stories of officers accused of violence and abuse still in their jobs, and of whistleblowers victimised instead of listened to.”
Wistrich said Dick “rose to the top of the Met, only to preside over an institution where misogynists, racists and homophobes can hold on to their jobs when they are meant to be tackling crime”.
She added: “The problem with Cressida as the first female to rise to the top of the most difficult job in policing is that in order to do so she had to put loyalty to her officers above all else.
“Any future leader of the Met must be able to listen to victims and be prepared to tackle the culture of misogyny and racism that pervades the underbelly of Met policing.”
Ricky Waumsley, whose partner Daniel Whitworth was murdered by serial killer Stephen Port, also welcomed Dick’s resignation.
He said: “When I was let down by the Met police because of their blatant homophobia towards the four victims that Stephen Port killed, and the inquest concluded that the Met failures ‘probably’ contributed to their deaths, I held Cressida accountable for these failures and made a statement that she should ‘resign with immediate effect’, so I am glad.”
The former chief crown prosecutor for north-west England Nazir Afzal said that he took “no joy” in calling for Dick to resign on several occasions. He tweeted: “She was an excellent investigator. But she became a human shield for the Govt. The problems in policing are bigger than one person”.