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Dame Cressida: First female Met head dogged by criticism over force’s standards

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D

ame Cressida Dick’s decision to resign as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police comes after a tumultuous period for the force in which its culture and standards have repeatedly been called into question.

The resignation comes less than six months after her contract as the head of the UK’s largest police force was extended by two years, a role she described as being the “greatest honour and privilege of my life.”

The first female, and openly gay, commissioner has served more than 30 years in uniform.

Originally from Oxford Dame Cressida was educated at the city’s university, graduating from Balliol College.

She joined the Met in 1983, where she served as a constable, sergeant and inspector in central south-west and south-east London.

In 1995 she transferred to Thames Valley Police as superintendent operations at Oxford, and subsequently spent three years as area commander.

After taking a career break to study for a Master’s degree in criminology at Cambridge University, she returned to the Met in June 2001.

Dame Cressida, who was the UK police lead for hostage negotiation, was appointed director of the force’s diversity directorate and head of the racial and violent crime taskforce before moving to the specialist crime directorate in 2003.

During her second stint at Scotland Yard she took on command roles in the police response to the 9/11 attacks and the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004.

Home Secretary Priti Patel confirmed Dame Cressida would continue her role for a further two years. (Stefan Rousseau/PA) / PA Wire

She was 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.

A jury later cleared Dame Cressida of any blame in his death.

In February 2007 she was promoted to deputy assistant commissioner and was later made the Met’s first female assistant commissioner in 2009.

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