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Cressida Dick
via Wikimedia Commons

Cya Cressida! All the ways Dame Dick has been a dick

The cursed police chief has finally left her post – here’s a rundown of all the crises, controversies, and all-out catastrophic errors that plagued her career

Pour one out for a fallen girlboss: Cressida Dick has officially left the Met. The announcement came, in perfect comic timing, just hours after the former police chief said she had “absolutely no intention” of quitting, and after Sadiq Khan said he was “not satisfied” Dick could “root out the racism, sexism, homophobia, bullying, discrimination and misogyny that still exist” in the force. 

The first woman to lead the Met, Dame Cressida Dick – or “Caress a Dick”, according to one contestant on Pointless –  joined the Met in 1983, becoming promoted to chief inspector within a decade. But under her watch, all manner of crises and controversies abounded, earning a reputation as a ‘teflon’ chief who could somehow cling onto her job despite widespread calls for her resignation.

The news of Dick’s departure is being welcomed by many, including those critical of the police chief for arguing against making misogyny a hate crime, obstructing inquiries, and her hypocrisy on failing to investigate ‘partygate’. A review by the police watchdog is also pending after the disappearance of Richard Okorogheye, the teenager who was found dead two weeks after his mother reported him missing, and will examine whether ethnicity played a role in the way his case was handled.

But we shouldn’t expect radical change from the news – as Sisters Uncut put it: “Cressida Dick is resigning but she is leaving behind an institution that is rotten to the core. It was Bristol police who beat Jasmine. The Met police who beat women at Clapham Common. The issue has always been institutional, not individual.” Below, we examine the string of scandals that she was responsible for, and for a second celebrate the moment that is #DickOut.


In the aftermath of the July 21 London bombings, then-deputy assistant commissioner Dick was gold commander in the room during the fatal shooting of innocent Brazilian national Jean Charles de Menezes. The 27-year-old electrician was repeatedly shot in the head at Stockwell tube station by officers who mistook him for a suicide bomber. Although the Met was found to have made catastrophic errors that led to the tragedy, Dick was cleared of any “personal culpability”. A family member of his recently told The i that Dick “should have quit 16 years ago”.


While Dame Dick was an assistant commissioner, the Met ran Operation Midland, a £2m investigation into a Westminster paedophile ring, which turned out to be fake. Individuals including the late Lord Brittan and former MP Harvey Proctor were subjected to intrusive scrutiny, but found to be innocent. Dick had been responsible for supervising the officer that found that Carl “Nick” Beech’s allegations were “credible and true”.


One of the issues brought to the fore by the Black Lives Matter movement was of institutional racism, notably within the police. Activists stated that Dick “failed to acknowledge” problems within the force, with hundreds demonstrating outside New Scotland Yard in September 2020 to denounce the “over-policing of Black communities” through tactics like stop and search and the use of stun guns. Rather than addressing these issues head-on, Dick chose to condemn the “disgraceful” violence at BLM demonstrations across London, saying she was “appalled by the scenes of violence”.


When candles were carried and flowers laid at Clapham Common during the vigil for Sarah Everard, who was raped and killed by serving police officer Wayne Couzens, the police’s response was violent and threatening. Entering the gathering to trample tributes, attempt to remove the speakers, and threaten arrests, their actions only escalated the tension between the Met and mourners further. Dick’s response? To dismiss the widespread outrage as “armchair critics”.


In December, officers Deniz Jaffer and Jamie Lewis were jailed for two years and nine months each for taking photos of the bodies of sisters Bibaa Henry, 46, and Nicole Smallman, 27, and sharing them with friends and colleagues via WhatsApp. The horrifying news – including the fact that one was a “selfie-style” image on which Lewis had superimposed his face – was indicative of the intolerant and shameful culture cultivated within the Met, and should have been enough of a scandal for Dick to resign over. 


A report from the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) uncovered the disgusting, discriminatory behaviour rampant in the force via Whatsapp groups and messages among officers. What they found – which we’ve broken down here – included rape threats, blatant racism and misogyny, and ableist slurs. Language like “if I was single I would happily chloroform you” was dismissed, inexplicably, as “banter”. Although the evidence has only just come to light, the investigation was started in 2018 after the IOPC recieved a referral alleging that an officer had sex with a drunk person at a police station.