Cressida Dick offered two-year extension as Met police chief

Extension said to have been granted because those most likely to replace her are not yet seen as suitable

The government has offered the Metropolitan police commissioner, Cressida Dick, a two-year extension to her term in office.

The decision was made by the home secretary, Priti Patel, in consultation with the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, and Downing Street.

Those with knowledge of the process say Dick was granted an extension because those most likely to replace her were not yet seen as being suitable for the job.

Dick became commissioner in April 2017 and was the first woman to lead Britain’s biggest police force since it was established in 1829. She had a five-year contract that was due to expire in April 2022.

The decision followed talks between Dick and Patel late last month and it is understood all parties have agreed terms. The extension has to be formally approved by Buckingham Palace as the commissioner of the Met is an appointment by royal warrant.

The extension to Dick’s time as commissioner will be formally announced next week. The only thing that could stop it is a cabinet reshuffle in which Patel was replaced as home secretary and her replacement ripped up the deal. This is thought to be unlikely.

Dick’s tenure has been controversial. She angered some with an expansion of stop and search, with community confidence in the Met dropping and the force’s chequered history on race under the microscope.

Others believe she has escaped having to properly account for her role in Operation Midland, the disastrous Met investigation into a nonexistent VIP paedophile ring in which prominent individuals were falsely suspected.

Detectives fell for the lies of a fantasist who was later jailed. Dick was also personally criticised by the official report into the Daniel Morgan murder, which accused her of obstructing its work, a finding she denies. She oversaw the fallout after a serving Met officer kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard in south London this year.

Dick is seen as having struggled to get a grip on violent crime, which she came into office saying was her top priority.

Only John Stevens and Bernard Hogan-Howe have completed their full five-year term as Met commissioner in the 21st century. The commissioners Ian Blair and Sir Paul Stephenson both resigned midterm amid controversy.

The commissioner of the Met is appointed by the home secretary, who has to have due regard for the views of the mayor of London, Labour’s Khan.

The extension for Dick appears to be, at best, a lukewarm vote of confidence. However, given the fact two of her last three predecessors were ousted from office midterm, it is still an achievement.

While publicly the Home Office, Downing Street and London mayor have voiced their confidence in Dick, all three institutions contain key figures who have doubts about the Met.

“Some in government view it as a basket case,” said one source, with its problems being seen as endemic and the force lurching from crisis to crisis. Others are concerned by what they claim is Met “arrogance”.

The Met sees itself facing challenges and scrutiny like no other force, and some senior policing figures believe it is no longer a shining example of the best of British policing.

Dick rejoined the Met to become commissioner in 2017, having left the force for a senior job at the Foreign Office. Her exit followed her falling out with then commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe, who ousted her from a role she loved as head of counter-terrorism. Hogan-Howe earned a single year’s extension to his commissionership, half that granted to Dick.

Possible future commissioners include Martin Hewitt, the chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, and the assistant commissioner Neil Basu, until recently head of counter-terrorism, who would be the first minority ethnic commissioner. Andy Cooke, a former chief of Merseyside police now with the policing inspectorate, is another possible candidate, as is Matt Jukes, an assistant commissioner in the Met after serving as chief of South Wales police. Simon Byrne, the chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, could also be a contender.

Contributor

Vikram Dodd Police and crime correspondent

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Cressida Dick refuses to quit over vigil policing and dismisses 'armchair critics'
Metropolitan police chief stands firm after criticism from London mayor and home secretary

Vikram Dodd, Aamna Mohdin and Aubrey Allegretti

15, Mar, 2021 @12:23 AM

Article image
Cressida Dick appointed first female Met police commissioner
Met’s former head of counter-terrorism to take over from Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe as Britain’s top police officer

Vikram Dodd Police and crime correspondent

22, Feb, 2017 @9:08 PM

Article image
‘Imminent’ decision on future of Cressida Dick as Met commissioner
Priti Patel and Dick discussed the commissioner’s future last week, it is understood

Vikram Dodd Police and crime correspondent

29, Aug, 2021 @4:21 PM

Article image
Cressida Dick: no formal investigation into Met police chief
London mayor’s office opts not to proceed over finding that commissioner obstructed police corruption inquiry

Vikram Dodd Police and crime correspondent

14, Oct, 2021 @8:23 PM

Article image
Cressida Dick defends neighbours over Boris Johnson recording
Met commissioner says recordings can be helpful for potential police investigations

Matthew Weaver

25, Jun, 2019 @8:47 AM

Article image
Met police dropped 30,000 criminal investigations in first 24 hours last year
Sexual assaults, arson and criminal damage are among the reported crimes that are being ‘screened out’ within a day

Sarah Marsh and Patrick Greenfield

09, Sep, 2018 @6:00 PM

Article image
Cressida Dick to remain Met chief until 2024, ministers announce
Term extended despite backlash, as sources say possible replacements were not to Priti Patel’s taste

Vikram Dodd Police and crime correspondent

10, Sep, 2021 @12:49 PM

Article image
Ex-Met chief defends Cressida Dick over Daniel Morgan findings
Lord Blair of Boughton criticises independent panel judgment and calls Dick ‘finest officer of generation’

Kevin Rawlinson and agency

16, Jun, 2021 @1:01 PM

Article image
Knife crime: Sajid Javid clashes with Theresa May over police cuts
The home secretary’s move comes as London mayor Sadiq Khan demands crisis meeting

Rowena Mason and Vikram Dodd

05, Mar, 2019 @9:19 PM

Article image
Cressida Dick must be held accountable over Couzens case, says ex-Met chief
John Stevens says commissioner, and politicians who cut Met’s resources, ‘must take some responsibility’

Rajeev Syal and Vikram Dodd

01, Oct, 2021 @3:25 PM