The commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police Service announced on Thursday that she would step down, under pressure from the mayor over reports of bullying, misogyny and racism on the force.
A onetime beat cop in London’s West End, the commissioner, Cressida Dick, became the first woman to lead Scotland Yard in its 188-year history when she was appointed in 2017.
In a statement on Thursday, she said it was with “huge sadness that following contact with the mayor of London today, it is clear that the mayor no longer has sufficient confidence in my leadership to continue.”
Ms. Dick continued: “He has left me no choice but to step aside as commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service.”
At the request of the mayor, Sadiq Khan, Ms. Dick said she had agreed to stay on for a “short period” while the service transitioned to a new commissioner.
Mr. Khan said on Thursday that he had made clear to Ms. Dick last week “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,” he said in a statement.
“On being informed of this, Dame Cressida Dick has said she will be standing aside,” Mr. Khan continued. “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.”
Ms. Dick’s announcement came amid growing scrutiny of the force after the kidnapping, rape and murder of Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old London woman, by a Metropolitan Police Service officer in March 2021. The killing fueled broader concerns about misogyny within policing, and violence against women and girls.
Less than two weeks ago, a report from England’s official police watchdog reinforced concerns about the police service. The report described London police officers routinely making jokes about rape and exchanging racist messages.
After the report was issued, the police service said that the actions detailed within it did “not represent the values” of the force.
“The murder of Sarah Everard and many other awful cases recently have, I know, damaged confidence in this fantastic police service,” Ms. Dick said in her statement Thursday. “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.”