Cressida Dick given guard of honour despite Met Police’s homophobia and racism scandal

Outgoing Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick stares at the camera while wearing a black and white police uniform

Cressida Dick was given a guard of honour by officers ahead of her last day as the Metropolitan Police commissioner despite the force’s horrific homophobia and racism scandals. 

Dick stepped down from the post in February after a damning report from England’s police watchdog exposed a troubling pattern of homophobia and bullying within the Met. The report also detailed how homophobic, racist, misogynist and violent comments made by officers were dismissed as “laddish banter”. 

She said she initially had “no intention” of standing down after the scandal despite the fact she had been placed “on notice” by the mayor of London Sadiq Khan. But Dick changed her mind and admitted in a statement that Khan’s scepticism in her ability to lead the force left her “no choice” but to resign early. 

Dick was given a guard of honour by officers lined up on the steps outside of the Met’s headquarters in London on Friday (8 April). The outdoing Met commissioner was met with applause by dozens of colleagues as she walked out of Scotland Yard, and she even hugged a young child on her way out. 

Speaking at the launch of Labour’s local election campaign in north London, Khan said he is not “going to hide from the fact” he lost confidence in Cressida Dick, whose last day is on Sunday (8 April).

“I’m not going to hide from the fact that we’ve had in our city a series of devastating scandals, overt racism, sexism, discrimination, homophobia, we’ve had trust and confidence from Londoners in the police service at rock bottom,” Khan said.

He added that this was “one of the reasons why I lose confidence in her”. Khan said he will be asking the next commissioner how they “will address some of these serious issues that, frankly speaking, the current commissioner failed to address”. 

Several people on social media criticised the Met for holding a ceremony for the embattled outgoing commissioner. 

Dick admitted in February that “nasty” racism, homophobia, sexism and prejudice had “tarnished” the reputation of the Met. She also said that a “depressing number of shameful cases” in the recent past threatened “public trust, confidence and consent”. 

In a farewell letter to London before her last day in post, Cressida Dick warned against the “politicisation of policing”, which she believes is a “threat not just to policing but to trust in the whole justice system”. 

Dick argued in her letter, which was published by the Evening Standard, that “operational independence from local and central government” is “crucial” for an “effective democracy”. 

She also acknowledged the “criticism” that the Met Police faces and knew that “not everyone has confidence in us to provide a good service when they need us”. Dick said the force has “seen among us those whose horrific actions have let you all, and us, down so terribly”. 

“Each one drives us to get better, to root out those who don’t uphold our standards and don’t deserve to wear our uniform,” she wrote. “To improve our response so all our communities feel protected by us.”

Dick will be taking unused annual leave after her last day in post on Sunday, making her final day of employment 24 April.

Deputy commissioner Sir Stephen House will temporarily serve as acting commissioner while the recruitment process is underway.