Patrick Christys: If Cressida Dick doesn’t resign, she must be sacked
Wayne Couzens could have been stopped. This happened on Cressida Dick’s watch. Ultimately, the buck stops with her.
Time is up for Cressida Dick. She has to resign. And if she doesn’t resign, she should be pushed.
The shocking catalogue of failures that led to Wayne Couzens kidnapping, raping and murdering Sarah Everard have irreversibly undermined trust in the police force, led to a change in police policy and highlighted a dangerous culture of mysoginy running through the Met like a cancer.
This happened on Cressida Dick’s watch. Ultimately, the buck stops with her. She’s in charge, she has to carry the can for it.
It’s emerged that the police watchdog is investigating the conduct of a total of 15 officers and a former officer linked to the Ms Everard case over allegations that they shared horrific racist, mysoginistic messages in the run up to Couzens’ crime. 771 Met officers and staff have faced sexual misconduct allegations since 2010, with at least 44 convicted of sexual offences.
Freedom of Information figures reveal that 163 were arrested and 83 were sacked without notice. Of those arrested, 78 were charged and 44 convicted. At least 18 were jailed and nine were given suspended jail sentences. The allegations included rape, sexual harassment, sexual assault and abusing a position of power for sex. Some 89 per cent of officers and staff members who faced an internal investigation over complaints were male. Formal action was taken in 156 cases. As well as the sackings, 46 people retired or resigned once the complaint against them was upheld.
Wayne Couzens could have been stopped. Basic errors, such as not checking the number plate on his car properly, meant that when he was reported to police for flashing women at a McDonalds drive through just days before he killed Sarah, he wasn’t picked up.
Now, because of what Couzens did, the Met has been forced to change the way it operates – the advice now is for members of the public to actually challenge plain clothed police officers if they get stopped. And the Met also announced that there will no longer be lone patrols by plain clothed officers.
What does this actually tell us? It tells us that Cressida Dick can’t be sure there aren’t more people like Wayne Couzens within her force. If you haven’t got a problem, and you’re sure you haven’t got a problem, you don’t need to change the way your force operates.
She’s promised to take indecent exposure allegations more seriously – why did it take a young woman to die in the most horrific way for that step to be taken? And do we trust Cressida Dick to sort it out.
If she was as good at being a police chief as she is at apologising then we’d have a better police force. She’s an ocean-going dud who’s presided over a catalogue of failures, including the way the force handled the Sarah Everard vigil. I’ll finish how I started – if Cressida Dick doesn’t resign, she must be sacked.