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Cressida Dick’s anti-terror cock-up should have disqualified her from the Met’s top job

23 February 2017

10:52 AM

23 February 2017

10:52 AM

Well, on the bright side, it seems that the Home Secretary and the Mayor of London are forgiving people, at least concerning offences that don’t concern them personally. Amber Rudd and Sadiq Khan have, as was universally predicted, decided that Cressida Dick should replace Bernard Hogan-Howe as head of the Met, the biggest policing appointment in the country, which includes its important counter-terrorism brief.

It would seem, then, that no mistake can be too grave – not to say fatal, no error of judgment too egregious, no apparent loss of control in a crisis too serious, to disqualify someone from taking control of London’s police force. Ms Dick was, of course, in charge of the anti-terror operation that led to the death of an innocent Brazilian plumber, Jean Charles de Menezes in 2005; police chased him into the Underground and shot him at close range. The man who was keeping watch on his home for the genuine suspect to emerge was unfortunately unable to identify him properly, because at the crucial moment he went behind a tree for a pee. It was a loo break with mortal consequences. And overseeing the whole operation was Cressida.


To summarise the reason why she shouldn’t have been appointed, let’s simply reproduce a letter from the mother of Jean Charles, Patricia Armani da Silva, to the Mayor, Sadiq Khan:

‘At the helm of the police on that fateful day, when the life of Jean was taken, included (sic) Cressida Dick. The IPCC [Independent Police Complaints Commission] investigation made strong criticisms of the command structure and the decision-making that took place that day.

As a family, we have always felt that those at the highest level, the commissioner and those in operational command, should be held responsible for the mistakes and for the misinformation and lies that were told by the police. 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 and ultimately be responsible for ensuring that no police officer acts with impunity, be filled by someone that is clearly tainted by her failure to live up to any of those requirements.’

I don’t think anyone could put the case better, do you? Anyone with a fully developed sense of personal responsibility – that is, for being in charge of this disastrous operation – would have resigned after the death of Jean Charles; instead Cressida went for one police promotion after another, and got them.

Which goes to show that if you’re a woman, there need be no impediment to your rise in British public life. Not even the death of an innocent man.

 

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