Dame Cressida Dick reportedly quit her role as commissioner of the Metropolitan Police after being told by Sadiq Khan to sack officers nine officers who had already been subjected to a lengthy IOPC investigation at Charing Cross Police Station, the Times reports.
The IOPC’s investigation, called ‘Operation Hotton’ followed referrals made to the watchdog by the Met concerning internal allegations made between 2016 and 2018.
In total, the IOPC investigated 14 police officers.
Most officers held the rank of police constable and the majority were based at Charing Cross Police Station.
Most of the officers worked on ‘Impact Teams’ which dealt with disorder and crime in the West End. These teams have since been disbanded.
Operation Hotton began with an allegation of bullying and sexual harassment. The matter was referred to the IOPC back in June 2018.
Amongst the allegations, it was alleged that supervising officers had ‘shouted’ at probationary constables and that some officers had experienced bullying and harassment.
The IOPC said that it also investigated allegations that a police officer was using steroids and that officers were engaging in conversations on WhatsApp that were discriminatory in nature.
The IOPC’s investigation concluded in March 2020, and all misconduct meetings and hearings were finalised in September 2021.
A total of 14 officers were put under notice that they were being investigated.
One officer was dismissed for gross misconduct and put on the barred list, preventing future employment with the police. Another officer would have also been dismissed, had they not resigned from the Met before the investigation concluded.
Four officers attended misconduct meetings, and a fifth would have participated in a misconduct meeting had they not resigned from the force.
A further two officers received Management Action and another officer received practice requiring improvement.
One of the officers who attended a misconduct meeting also received practice requiring improvement.
While Mr Khan denies threatening the outgoing chief, Dame Cressida is said to have spoken of it in a video call last week, where she explained her departure to more than 100 officers, the Times reports
She told them how the mayor was left infuriated by the revelations from the IOPCs Charing Cross investigation.
He was particularly angry that nine officers kept their jobs, even though the nine officers concerned had already been through the IOPCs exhaustive investigation and, where appropriate, had already been disciplined for their conduct.
It has been reported that Dame Cressida is then said to have tried to spell out to Khan how the process was an independent one carried out by the police watchdog, and the fact that officers were only charged with lower-level disciplinary offences meant they couldn’t be sacked.
Reports are that this failed to satisfy the mayor, who instead wanted to overrule the well-established and thorough procedures for dealing with allegations of police misconduct.
It is alleged that, because Dame Cressida would not fire the officers who had already been disciplined, the mayor was going to announce his lack of faith in her ability to run the Met.
But rather than be subject to what many believe would have been a public flogging of the commissioner, Dame Cressida announced that she would be resigning from the top job.
Dame Cressida’s resignation has since seen already-strained tensions between the Met and City Hall pushed even further, with some senior figures said to be disturbed over what they believe to be political interference, meddling and manoeuvering.
One told the Times:
‘You now have the politicians trying to completely run the place. And Khan has said he will oppose the next commissioner if they don’t toe the line. What happened to independent operational policing?’
It follows comments from the Met Police Federation earlier this week, which declared it has ‘no faith’ in Mr Khan after his ‘very public ousting’ of Dame Cressida, warning morale among officers had hit ‘rock bottom’.
The federation claimed Mr Khan’s actions have ‘undermined the professional, dedicated and incredibly difficult work of tens of thousands of hard-working and brave police officers from across the capital’.
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