Priti Patel slams Cressida Dick for 'failure of leadership' over racist messages at the Met Police

The Home Secretary told MPs that the messages reflect a culture within the force, as the "appalling" messages are not "isolated" incidents.

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Priti Patel has hit out at Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick for "failures of leadership" that resulted in officers in her force exchanging sexist, racist and homophobic messages.

The Home Secretary told MPs that the messages reflect a culture within the force, as the "appalling" messages are not "isolated" incidents.

Ms Patel said the issues in the Met Police are "across the board" when asked if Commissioner Cressida Dick is a part of the problem.

“We have seen now too, too many times, too many instances where, in policing, we just see the most appalling behaviours, the most appalling conduct. I also think it shows a failure of leadership in some quarters,” she told MPs on the Commons home affairs committee.

Despite the criticism, Patel said Cressida Dick will be able to tackle the "unacceptable behaviours" within the Met Police force.

A now disbanded police team, primarily based at Charing Cross police station, were found to have used highly offensive language in WhatsApp and Facebook chats by whistleblowers, who contacted the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Officers joked about "raping" and "hate-f*****g" female colleagues, as well as beating their partners in a series of shocking messages which were passed off as "banter" by those involved.

Ms Patel said: "In terms of failure of leadership, the fact that those behaviours were allowed to take place, there were no disciplinary actions, no-one saying that's wrong, that is actually about leadership in policing.

“So that's superiors, that's seniors, line managers calling that behaviour out and actually stopping it in the first place.

Asked if she had confidence in the Commissioner to make the changes required,

"I'm very clear and upfront with the Commissioner about the problems that we see in the Metropolitan Police ... with a range of failure points, where there's -

“I'm not even going to call it underperforming - but behaviours, culture, particularly post the awful murder of Sarah Everard. And I'm very challenging directly with the Commissioner and I will continue to be so because the public want answers."

Patel was asked again if she has confidence in the current Commissioner, replying: "I've always said that I'm confident in her and her work, but that also means that change is required.

"There are lots of issues, it's not straightforward with the Met, and there are lots of issues there where we need to see major, major significant improvements: culture, delivery, accountability and protecting the streets."

Dame Cressida's contract was extended last year by Ms Patel and Boris Johnson to enable her to serve an extra two years.