By Joe Talora, Local Democracy Reporter
A row has erupted between City Hall and Scotland Yard in the wake of Cressida Dick’s resignation as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.
The Met’s Deputy Commissioner Sir Stephen House on Wednesday launched a scathing attack on Mayor of London Sadiq Khan over the way Cressida Dick’s resignation was handled, accusing the mayor of forcing her out without due process.
But a spokesperson for the Mayor of London hit back, describing the Deputy Commissioner’s claim as “entirely incorrect”.
They said: “Trust in the police among Londoners has plummeted over the last two years and is now nearly at an all-time low following a series of devastating scandals involving police officers, including evidence of misogyny, racism, sexism, homophobia and bullying.
“The mayor is democratically elected by millions of Londoners and it is his job to hold the police to account – and he will continue to do so.”
City Hall added there was no need for the mayor to follow statutory process as Cressida Dick resigned voluntarily, pointing to the precedent set when Ian Blair resigned as Commissioner in 2008 following a fallout with then-mayor Boris Johnson.
The extraordinary fallout unfolded in public on Wednesday, February 23, during a meeting of the London Assembly’s police and crime committee at the new City Hall building.
London’s Deputy Mayor for Policing Sophie Linden told the meeting that the plan presented to the mayor by Cressida Dick outlining how she would restore confidence in the Met lacked “sufficient acceptance of the nature and severity of the problem”.
But Sir Stephen House hit back and said that he and the Commissioner were met with a “stone wall of silence” by the mayor’s office and were given no feedback on the plan presented by Cressida Dick.
He added that it is “difficult to improve if you don’t know what needs improving”.
The Deputy Commissioner also hit back at comments made by Green Party Assembly Member Caroline Russell about the way the Met handled a vigil for Sarah Everard on Clapham Common last year.
The Met was widely criticised for the way it policed the vigil following the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving Met police officer.
But Sir Stephen House on Wednesday described the vigil as a “political rally” that became “violent and aggressive” before officers stepped in.
The Met’s handling of the vigil was the first in a series of scandals and PR disasters that ultimately led to the breakdown in the relationship between Sadiq Khan and Cressida Dick.
Last week, Mr Khan said that he and Home Secretary Priti Patel are in “close contact” as they work to appoint “the right person” to replace Cressida Dick as Commissioner.