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Patel asked by Met leadership to review Commissioner's resignation

The Met’s senior leadership have asked the Home Secretary to review the resignation of Dame Cressida Dick.

The Home Secretary has been asked by the Met's Deputy Commissioner to review the events that led up to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner stepping down.

In a blistering statement, Deputy Met Commissioner Sir Stephen House claimed impartiality rules had been ignored by London's Mayor.

He told the GLA’s police and crime committee that he had written to Priti Patel asking her to review the events leading up to the resignation of Dame Cressida Dick.

Sir Stephen, a long-time support of the Commissioner, paid tribute to her work and directly challenged Mayor Sadiq Khan in a pre-prepared statement.

He described her as “the outstanding police officer of her generation”.

It comes just days after the Met’s Federation said it no longer had confidence in the mayor.

There were signs too that rank and file Met officers had objected to the decision.

Before the statement, committee Chair Susan Hall (Conservative) revealed she had received “quite a bit of correspondence” from serving officers.

Sir Stephen accepted the Met had been through a difficult period but questioned why the Commissioner had been effectively pushed out despite the mayor backing a multi-year contract renewal.

But his biggest concern was that impartiality and independence in policing, a “cornerstone of democracy”, had been breached by what had been a political decision.

“There is a clear procedure laid out in statute for the removal of a chief officer or Commissioner. It has not been followed in this instance. It has not even been initiated in this instance,” he said.

“Due process has not been followed and instead we’ve seen matters played out in the media.”

He revealed the extraordinary step had been taken to request the Home Office step in. In essence, it is escalating a political decision to the other person who will decide the successor to Dame Cressida – and who wasn’t informed of the decision taken by Mr Khan.

“I have written to the Home Secretary to ask her to have a review carried out of the events that have taken place. I would ask members of the Police and Crime Committee [the GLA] to consider whether they would look at what happened here,” he said.

Sir Stephen said the Met had been caught out by the row: “I am surprised. Many of us are.”

“Only a few months ago the Mayor was arguing for a three-year extension for this Commissioner,” he said.

He claimed the Mayor had enthusiastically backed the Commissioner at a Home Office meeting just a few days before.

Then he added another blow: the conduct issues at Charing Cross police station that triggered the showdown were not new.

He told the committee: “The text messages in Charing Cross cannot have been a surprise to the Mayor. MOPAC had been briefed on those events and they had been under investigation for four years.”

The Deputy Commissioner also challenged media claims that Dame Cressida had not been tackling conduct issues in the force and paid tribute to her.

The claims were “simply not true”.

“It is not a view that is in any way supported by the facts,” he said.

He then gave a personal testimony.

“I feel extremely sad for my boss; that their police career and lifetime of public service have ended in this way. And I know I am not the only one to feel this,” he said.

“I have never worked with a finer, more ethical, more resolute, more dutiful and more caring leader.”

His delivered the statement next to a clearly rattled Deputy Mayor for Policing, Sophie Linden who was then asked by the committee to publish the correspondence between the Commissioner and the Mayor in the lead up to her dramatic exit.

The Deputy Mayor defended Mr Khan’s decision; it was about more than one incident. The Commissioner had not been aware of the scale or urgency of the response needed: “It was clear to the Mayor that strong action needed to be taken.”

Chair Susan Hall signalled the session was not the end of the matter: “Clearly there are disagreements on this. It is unsatisfactory all the way round.”

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