Met Police chief says ‘nasty’ homophobia, racism and misogyny ‘risks force losing public consent’

Cressida Dick, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, stands outside in the police uniform

Met Police commissioner Cressida Dick has admitted the force’s reputation has been “tarnished” by “poor conduct and nasty and inappropriate behaviour”.

A damning report by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) revealed that there was “pervasive evidence” of bullying and harassment within the Met Police involving officers “predominantly working in teams based at Charing Cross Police Station”.

It also detailed how homophobic, racist, misogynist and violent comments made by officers were dismissed as “laddish banter”.

After the report came to light, the embattled head of the Met reportedly sent a letter to nearly 43,000 officers and staff telling them the force’s reputation is in peril.

Dick told officers that there had been a “depressing number of shameful cases” in the “last few months” which now threatened “public trust, confidence and consent”, the Telegraph reported.

“Our reputation is tarnished and people’s confidence in us has fallen,” she wrote. “This is serious and it is urgent.”

Her letter went on: “To lose public consent would be unthinkable. Action is needed now. Enough is enough.”

She also called on officers to “do the right thing” by “being professional and calling out all bad behaviour or prejudice” that they see within the force. Dick said that not doing so is a “failure of responsibility”.

Cressida Dick also reportedly warned everyone that prejudice, racism, homophobia and sexism will not be tolerated in the police force. She wrote: “If this is you I have a message: the Met does not want you. Leave now.”

In the wake of the controversy, London mayor Sadiq Khan released a critical statement about the running of the Met under Cressida Dick’s leadership, putting the commissioner “on notice”.

A spokesperson for Khan said the mayor “made clear to the commissioner” during a meeting “how angry he is with a return to the bad days of the Met of his childhood in the 1970s and 80s, and that neither he nor Londoners will put up with this”.

“He has put the commissioner on notice,” the spokesperson said. “He said the Met needs to urgently show it has an effective plan for restoring the trust and confidence of Londoners in the police and to drive out the culture of racism, homophobia, bullying and misogyny which clearly still exists within its ranks.”

Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan attend a media gathering

Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan speak to the media on 29 November 2021. (Victoria Jones/POOL/AFP via Getty)

Labour MP Dawn Butler also slammed Dick’s leadership of the Met in a blistering article for

Butler said that the content in the IOPC report was “horrifying and disgusting”, but it was “important for the public to know the truth”. She added this is “far from the first time something like this has happened” under Dick’s watch, calling for the commissioner to step down.

“The question is, how many bad apples does it take until Cressida Dick recognises that the tree is rotten?” Butler wrote. “This is an institutional problem, and Cressida Dick simply has to go.”

She added that Dick has been “damaged by scandal after scandal under her watch”. Butler said Dick is “so tin-eared about the problem” that there is “nothing that points to why she should continue in this role”.

IOPC regional director Sal Naseem said the “disgraceful” behaviour and issues detailed in the report are “not isolated or historic” to just one team within the Met as was evidenced by “other recent cases”.

As such, the IOPC gave the Met 15 recommendations to overhaul its culture and process after the appalling messages came to light.

This included for the Metropolitan Police Service to “publicly commit to being an anti-racist organisation with a zero-tolerance policy towards sexism, misogyny, bullying and harassment”.