etropolitan Police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick will step down from her role after saying Mayor of London Sadiq Khan “no longer had sufficient confidence” in her leadership.
In a statement, Dame Cressida said she would move on from the role leading the force after a “short period” to ensure the “stability” of the Met.
It follows a series of scandals involving the force, including the murder of Sarah Everard by former Met officer Wayne Couzens and the force’s actions following her death in tackling a vigil held in her memory.
The force also came under fire after the publication of racist and misogynistic messages sent by officers working at a branch in Charing Cross.
While last summer the notorious 1987 unsolved murder of Daniel Morgan also hit the headlines, with an independent panel accusing the Metropolitan Police of institutional corruption over the case.
Dame Cressida said: “Undertaking this role as a servant of the people of London and the UK has been the greatest honour and privilege of my life.
“Throughout my career I have sought to protect the people of this wonderful thriving and diverse city.
“There have been many tough calls. And many challenges. The 2017 terrorist attacks, the Grenfell fire, difficult protests, the pandemic, the murder of serving officers.
“I’m incredibly proud of my team and all they have achieved.”
In her statement, Dame Cressida acknowledged that a series of scandals had “damaged” the reputation of the force.
She added: “There is much to do – and I know that the Met has turned its full attention to rebuilding public trust and confidence. For that reason I am very optimistic about the future for the Met and for London.”
It came just hours after Ms Dick told media she would not be stepping down from her role.
She told BBC Radio London she wanted to put a stop to “disgusting behaviour” within the force and had told officers “enough is enough”.
Dame Cressida added: “There is no place in the Met for sexism or racism or homophobia, for abuse of trust or for bullying, and in the last few days I have gone out extremely strongly to my colleagues and told them enough is enough.”
When asked if she should step down , she said: “I have absolutely no intention of going and I believe that I am and have been, actually for the last five years, leading a real transformation in the Met.”
However, Mr Khan on Wednesday warned Dame Cressida that she would need to urgently present a plan for combatting racism and misogyny within the force. Last week, Mr Khan said he had put her “on notice”.
It is understood that Dame Cressida submitted her plan but Mr Khan did not think it met what was required, and called her in for a meeting on Thursday afternoon.
However she did not attend and submitted her resignation instead, according to reports.
In a statement on Thursday evening, Mr Khan, said: “Last week, I made clear to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner the scale of the change I believe is urgently required to rebuild the trust and confidence of Londoners in the Met and to root out the racism, sexism, homophobia, bullying, discrimination and misogyny that still exists.
“I am not satisfied with the Commissioner’s response.
“On being informed of this, Dame Cressida Dick has said she will be standing aside. It’s clear that the only way to start to deliver the scale of the change required is to have new leadership right at the top of the Metropolitan Police.
“I would like to thank Dame Cressida Dick for her 40 years of dedicated public service, with the vast majority spent at the Met where she was the first woman to become Commissioner. In particular, I commend her for the recent work in helping us to bring down violent crime in London – although of course there is more to do.
“I want to put on the record again that there are thousands of incredibly brave and decent police officers at the Met who go above and beyond every day to help keep us safe, and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude.
“I will now work closely with the Home Secretary on the appointment of a new Commissioner so that we can move quickly to restore trust in the capital’s police service while keeping London safe.”
Mr Khan is responsible for holding the Commissioner to account and is consulted by the Home Secretary over who is appointed to the role.
But it is understood Mr Khan did not inform Priti Patel of his intention to request a meeting with Dame Cressida.
According to Home Office sources, Ms Patel was not impressed by this and thought it was “rude and unprofessional”.
Ms Patel will oversee the appointment of the new commissioner and more details on how she will set about searching for a replacement are expected to be confirmed in due course.
The Home Secretary, who has reportedly had past clashes with Dame Cressida, praised the officer’s “steadfast dedication”.
She said: “I’d like to thank Dame Cressida for the nearly four decades of her life that she has devoted to serving the public, latterly as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.
“She would be the first to say that she has held the role during challenging times; yet for nearly five years she has undertaken her duties with a steadfast dedication to protecting our capital city and its people, including during the unprecedented period of the pandemic.
“Leading the Met has also involved driving our national counter terrorism capability at a time of multiple threats while as the first woman to hold the post, she has exemplified the increasingly diverse nature of our police and demonstrated that all can aspire to hold leadership roles in policing in this country today.”
Dame Cressida’s resignation comes less than six months after her contract as the head of the UK’s largest police force was extended by two years.
The first female, and openly gay, commissioner has served more than 30 years in uniform.
After leaving Scotland Yard in January 2015 to become a director general at the Foreign Office, she returned as commissioner in 2017 and was made a dame in Theresa May’s resignation honours in 2019.
She was first thrust into the public eye in 2005 after she was in charge of the operation that led to the fatal shooting of Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes, who was wrongly identified as a potential suicide bomber.
Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said Dame Cressida has been treated in a “wholly unfair” way.
“We are deeply saddened by the resignation of our commissioner,” he said.
“She was much loved across the rank and file of the Metropolitan Police Service.
“We feel the way she has been treated is wholly unfair and we did believe that she was the person who could take us through this and bring us out the other side.”