Khan ousted Cressida Dick to deflect from his own failings, says police union

Metropolitan Police Federation chair attacks London mayor and claims members have ‘no faith’ in him

London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, ousted Cressida Dick as Met chief to deflect from his own failings, the chair of the Metropolitan Police Federation has said.

Ken Marsh, who leads the body representing rank-and-file officers in Britain’s largest force, claimed his members had no faith in Khan and needed to support any changes otherwise they would not work.

He insisted the Metropolitan police commissioner had been reforming the force’s culture before she was pushed out.

Government sources say they believe radical change is needed in the Met, the same view held by Khan.

The home secretary, Priti Patel, and Khan are expected this week to discuss the attributes they want to see in the next commissioner. A government source denied claims the mayor would be excluded from the selection process, pointing out it was mandated by law.

In his attack, Marsh said Met morale was at rock bottom after Dick quit last week. Khan had told her that her plans for ridding the Met of racism, misogyny and boosting flagging public confidence were not good enough.

Marsh said: “We’ve got to put some context on what we are talking about. The incidents that have taken place are horrific. We do not want these individuals in the job.

Ken Marsh, chair of the Metropolitan Police Federation
Ken Marsh: ‘If you haven’t got your workforce with you then you are not going to achieve what you’re setting out to achieve.’ Photograph: Tayfun Salcı/Zuma Press Wire/Rex/Shutterstock

“But the federation will continue to speak up for our good officers. We totally accept that we have to deliver for the public and work to improve confidence, but if you haven’t got your workforce with you then you are not going to achieve what you’re setting out to achieve.

“Frankly, what we are viewing is politicians trying to use policing and the career of the country’s most senior police leader to deflect from their own failings.”

Chris Excell, the chair of the Metropolitan Black Police Association, said the next commissioner had to accept the force was still plagued by institutional racism. “New leadership must be willing to fully acknowledge the importance of the task ahead and produce a plan of action that guards against deflection or non-acceptance of institutional racism,” Excell said.

A Home Office source said that despite press reports over the weekend, the Conservative home secretary and the Labour mayor were in broad agreement. “Both of them believe there needs to be radical change in the Met. The need for radical change is evident for all to see,” they said.

A spokesperson for the mayor hit back at the Marsh warning, downplaying the idea that the crisis would hamper efforts to rebuild public trust.

“It was the mayor’s view that a change of leadership was the only way to address this crisis in trust,” they said. “The mayor has always made clear that there are thousands of incredibly brave and decent police officers at the Met who we owe a huge debt of gratitude. But the series of scandals seen in recent years has tarnished the reputation of the police, which is so crucial to policing by consent.

“Downplaying the scale of the change required is only going to hinder, not help, the vital process of restoring Londoners’ trust in the Met.”

Talks continue about how long Dick will remain as commissioner and whether she will get any payout.

She had been granted a two-year contract extension due to start in April. She took an annual salary of £230,000 but was entitled to £40,000 a year more.

Government and City Hall sources insist the search for her replacement will be genuinely open and there are no favourites in mind.


Vikram Dodd Police and crime correspondent

The GuardianTramp

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