The political connotations of Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick’s departure are multiple and could be the subject of half a dozen blogs and opinion pieces. Would she have gone if our ‘big dawg’ PM was not mortally wounded through party-gate? Is Sadiq Khan’s forceful intervention by accident or design laying a marker for a future tilt at the leadership of the Labour party and giving a sharp distinction between his action in office and Labour’s timidity as an opposition?
I have worked around the Met for the best part of a quarter of a century and Cressida Dick was the epitome of a corporate culture that not only facilitated but nurtured an environment where abuses such as Charing Cross, Couzens, the Stephen Port investigation, Daniel Morgan, and Nicole Smallman and Bibba Henry who hours after their horrific murder had pictures of their corpses shared on social media by Met Officers could grow and develop unchallenged internally.
One point I strongly want to make is that my analysis does not condemn every serving Met Police Officer as a racist or misogynist. Frankly we have wasted more than two decades since William Macpherson‘s report into the murder of Stephen Lawrence failing to address the problem while the Met has played a sophisticated PR game trying to convince us all that it has rid itself of the `canteen culture’ and rooted out all the `bad uns’ as the Commissioner described her more wayward officers.
The resistance to any analysis that led to the frankly obvious conclusion that the Met had serious problems around its culture and methods of working from Senior Officers has been a constant feature since Macpherson. At the heart of the problem has been a leadership model visibly uncomfortable with the challenge of policing London’s multi racial, diverse community and solidly committed to protecting its own even when its own are guilty of serious wrong doing as demonstrated by Charing Cross (nine officers of the 13 still in post. One promoted to Sergeant!).
Moving forward I am not filled with hope. The political climate with politicians more concerned with culture wars and rooting out wokism than addressing institutional failures and bringing communities together does not lend itself to creating an environment that can truly address the problem. However working in a prison for the past nine months that had one of the worst recent inspection reports only 3 years ago I have seen a leadership model face up to and address challenges of institutional discrimination and creating a culture that values good relationships between officers and prisoners.
On a walk about on the wings in the prison a few months ago with the Governor in charge of young adults at the jail (a former soldier with 20 years in the service) I was introduced to the concept of Procedural Justice and the need to treat the inmates fairly creating a win win culture. Now if a woke warrior such as myself and former member of HM armed forces can find common cause in the prison system there may just be some straws of optimism. I will clutch onto them and watch what emerges at Scotland Yard with interest.