LONDON: A woman will become Britain’s most senior police officer for the first time after the government announced on Wednesday that Cressida Dick is to be commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.
Dick, 56, will succeed Bernard Hogan-Howe as chief of Scotland Yard, in London, returning to the force after leaving two years ago for the Foreign Office.
“Cressida Dick is an exceptional leader, and has a clear vision for the future of the Metropolitan Police,” interior minister Amber Rudd said.
“She now takes on one of the most demanding, high-profile and important jobs in UK policing, against the backdrop of a heightened terror alert and evolving threats from fraud and cyber crime,” she added.
Mayor Sadiq Khan called it a “historic day for London and a proud day for me as mayor.”
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) February 22, 2017
Dick’s appointment is likely to stir controversy because of her involvement in the fatal 2005 shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, a Brazilian who was wrongly identified as a potential suicide bomber the day after four attempted bomb attacks in London.
Dick led the operation but was cleared of blame by a jury.
The family of De Menezes protested against her appointment when it emerged she was in the running for the top job.
“We cannot be expected to accept that the most senior police officer in the country, a post that is expected to uphold the highest standards of professionalism, to command public confidence… be filled by someone that is clearly tainted by her failure to live up to any of those requirements,” they wrote in a letter published in The Guardian newspaper.
The Metropolitan Police Service is responsible for law enforcement in Greater London but also has major national responsibilities, such as counter-terrorism and protecting the royal family.