Met Police Federation gives ‘full support’ to criticised Commissioner

Metropolitan Police officers have given their “full support” to Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick after critics called for her to be replaced.

Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents more than 30,000 officers in London, said Dame Cressida had the “full support of the rank and file”.

It comes after a number of high-profile figures signed an open letter to the Prime Minister accusing Dame Cressida of “presiding over a culture of incompetence and cover-up” following reports she had been offered a two-year extension to her contract.

Mr Marsh told the PA news agency that Dame Cressida’s leadership had been “excellent”, while her “ability to communicate with officers of all ranks is quite incredible”.

The letter sent earlier this week urged Boris Johnson to replace the Commissioner, arguing that she “must be properly investigated for her conduct, along with predecessors and those in her inner circle, who she appointed and who have questions to answer”.

Signatories included Baroness Doreen Lawrence, Lady Diana Brittan, former Tory MP Harvey Proctor and broadcaster Paul Gambaccini – who have all expressed disappointment or criticism of the police over cases affecting them.

Their letter also urged the police watchdog, the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC), to introduce reforms.

Mr Marsh told PA that he understands “fully” the positions the letter signatories are in and his “heart goes out to them”.

He said he did not have an issue with police reform “whatsoever”, but said “that’s for the Government to decide”.

Asked about criticism of Dame Cressida he said: “From what I’ve seen she’s done everything she can to answer all comments that are put to her and everything that’s put in front of her.”

In a separate statement issued by Mr Marsh’s federation it said it “fully supports” the contract extension, adding: “It is easy to comment and criticise from the sidelines.”

It added: “Whilst the federation does not always agree with the Commissioner – the same goes for anyone who holds that post – we think she is doing a good job in difficult circumstances.

“Many of the voices we hear calling for the Commissioner to go are the same ones who, following the Clapham Common vigil earlier this year, rounded on our colleagues criticising their work.

“They were, of course, proven to be completely wrong when Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary looked at the policing of the event.

“We have worked with this commissioner for a number of years now and believe she is still the best candidate for the role.

“We know her to be an ethical, courageous and highly competent police leader who genuinely cares about London, its citizens and her officers.”

On Thursday, Mr Proctor warned that Dame Cressida should be replaced to ensure any future “errors” by the Met are avoided.

The ex-Tory MP was one of three men who had their houses raided by officers from the Met’s failed Operation Midland, which was launched in reaction to false allegations by jailed fantasist Carl Beech about a murderous VIP paedophile ring.

Mr Gambaccini, who was falsely accused of historical sex offences, said: “Londoners deserve a first class police service, they do not currently have one.”

Baroness Lawrence, mother of teenager Stephen Lawrence, who died in a racist attack in 1993, has previously voiced her disappointment after an investigation into her son’s death was shelved last year.

Meanwhile Lady Brittan, whose home was raided when her late husband Lord Brittan was falsely accused of child abuse as part of Operation Midland, previously told the Home Affairs Select Committee that public figures caught up in the scandal had still not received justice.

A Home Office spokesperson previously said: “The appointment of the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service is a formal process which will be confirmed in the proper way.”