Revealed: Cressida Dick’s full letter to Sadiq Khan on police misconduct - before her resignation as Met chief

LondonWorld can reveal the full letter Dame Cressida Dick sent to Sadiq Khan with her plan to clear up the force - which led to the mayor saying he no longer had confidence in her.

The full letter which Dame Cressida Dick wrote to Sadiq Khan - which led to the mayor of London saying he no longer had confidence in her - can be revealed by LondonWorld.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. Picture: Victoria Jones - Pool/Getty Images

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Her letter said:

  • She never suggested that the there were just “a few bad apples” undermining trust in the Met, and says the problem is “wider than that”.
  • Twice as many people are coming forward to report wrongdoing now compared with 2018.
  • Dame Cressida wrote to every officer and member of police staff setting out behaviours which will not be tolerated.
  • It included “a reminder that inappropriate social media use is unacceptable”.
  • Senior officers would be tasked with going through the letter with officers, and “spelling” it out - before reporting back.
  • An agreement would be made on the focuses of Baroness Casey’s review into the force, following the murder of Sarah Everard by serving officer Wayne Couzens.
  • A new Command Assessment of Standards would be introduced that will need to be completed by every leader of a command unit.
  • An 100-strong mixed team of officers and staff would assess risks of police misconduct and bad behaviour.
  • The deputy commissioner will personally brief all 733 recently promoted Sergeants, reiterating Dame Cressida’s expectations of them to maintain the highest of standards.
  • A proposal to review the social media accounts of staff - to check whether they are “expressing inappropriate views” - was suggested.
  • Dame Cressida’s vision was for the Met to be the most trusted police force in the world.
  • However, in the weeks and months ahead, more cases would come to light which will raise questions about the Met’s culture.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick makes a statement outside of the Old Bailey, following the sentencing of Wayne Couzens (Photo by DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)

Dame Cressida Dick’s letter to Sadiq Khan in full

I am grateful for the full discussion we had on Wednesday about trust and confidence in the Met.

I want to be very clear. I fully share the depth of your concern following the conclusion of the case surrounding the behaviours of some members of a team at Charing Cross Police Station in 2016-2018, but also more widely linked to recent events.

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I recognise that this is very serious and urgent action is required. We still, sadly, see far too many examples of bullying and abuse of trust, of disrespect and lack of compassion.

I applied to be commissioner so that I could be a force for good — for London, and for the Met.

There is much we should admire — and I know you do.

But I was clear five years ago, and I am clear today, that further cultural change is needed and I am ever-more resolute in my determination to lead that change from the front over the next two years. This is serious and it is urgent.

London mayor Sadiq Khan said action was needed quickly to tackle London’s air quality issues (Photo: Dominic Lipinski/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The Met is keeping London safer — our achievements in reducing violence and bucking the trend nationally on many performance metrics over the last two years speak for themselves.

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But repeated failures of officers and staff to abide by the high standards I expect, and that the public rightly expect, are plain and simply unacceptable.

There is no place in the Met for anyone who is a bully, or for anyone who is racist, homophobic, a misogynist or who doesn't understand that sexual harassment is utterly wrong.

There is no place in the Met for those who hide behind the term 'banter' but whose obvious intent is to undermine others and cause harm.

I want a Met where each and every one of us must be actively against sexism, racism, homophobia, and all forms of discrimination or abuse of trust.

We must have zero tolerance.

Dame Cressida Dick’s letter to Sadiq Khan. Credit: Met Police

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You know that I do not think these failings we have seen are exhibited by the majority of the hardworking officers and staff of the Met.

But very evidently the description applies to too many and that is undermining trust and confidence.

I have never suggested that in my 50,000 officers, staff and volunteers, this is just 'a few bad apples'.

The problem is much wider than that, clearly, and it is my job to accelerate our work to root out unprofessional individuals and rotten teams, and raise standards across the board.

I know we are better placed now to confront these challenges than we were five years ago.

We are rooting out those who have no place in the Met; you should be in no doubt that we will continue to do so with utter determination.

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We have worked hard to create a more humane, fair and just Met and one where people can speak up.

We are focusing ever more on basic standards and ensuring our values shine through in everything we do.

Police officer James Goodchild - who was suspended during the Charing Cross probe - had a conviction for threatening to murder a female colleague. Credit: Paul Davey/SWNS

We should welcome the fact that as a result of the culture shift we have already achieved, twice as many people are now coming forward to express concerns through the extensive framework we have in place for reporting wrongdoing than did so in 2018.

Our staff surveys over the past five years show substantial positive movement on engagement, fairness and advocacy, including amongst our minority staff groups.

I have today written to every officer and member of police staff to set out in very clear terms what I expect from them all and the behaviours that will not be tolerated.

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This follows briefings of all teams by their line managers that were mandated by me in October, to spell out clearly the standards we expect, our expectations that colleagues must not turn a blind eye where they see wrong doing taking place, and a reminder that inappropriate social media use is unacceptable.

However, I am now taking even more direct action. Tomorrow morning I will lead a call with all of my senior leaders, spelling out what I expect from them and going through the detail of this letter.

I will require senior leaders (at least at Superintendent rank) to speak to every team in the next few days to ensure everyone has seen and read my letter; has understood it; and to spell out clearly and explicitly the standards that I expect and the requirement we place on people to come forward and report wrongdoing wherever they see it.

Senior leaders will be required to report back to me, personally, within two weeks that these briefings have taken place.

I and my Board will also visit as many locations as we can over the next two weeks to join these briefings and ensure the importance of what is being said is understood by all.

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I attach to this letter a summary of the steps we have already taken to respond to legitimate concerns about the Met, and to which I have already committed in our Rebuilding Trust Plan, Violence Against Women and Girls Action plan, our Diversity and Inclusion Strategy (STRIDE) and our work by the Deputy Commissioner's Delivery Group in response to your Action Plan.

However, I know further significant and decisive action is needed. Building on the extensive plans already in place, I set out the following acceleration of this determined campaign, which I look forward to discussing further with you at the earliest opportunity.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick has come under fire following the Sarah Everard murder by police officer Wayne Couzens. Credit: Ming Yeung/Getty Images

An extended list is attached, however the most significant areas of acceleration are:

  • An agreement on the initial focuses for Baroness Casey's review, to give her assessment of the depth and breadth of understanding about the standards of behaviour we expect; and a detailed examination of whether we are sufficiently robust in dealing with misconduct within the Regulatory framework.
  • I am introducing — with immediate effect — a new Command Assessment of Standards that will need to be completed by every leader of a command unit (OCU or police staff Directorate) to enhance accountability, oversight and scrutiny of standards and the professional health of units across the Met. This is a very substantial step, and will form a critical new component of our governance and assurance process. These assessments will be scrutinised at Management Board level, but as part of our governance framework will also be open to scrutiny by MOPAC and the Audit Panel.
  • In addition, to ensure confidence in the quality of the Command Assessment of Standards, I am establishing, initially for two years, a 100-strong mixed team of officers and staff to test and validate the judgements (and identified risks) under the leadership of the Commander, Rebuilding Trust. I will personally review the findings of each of these inspections and I will want to ensure the findings and learning we generate are explored and shared transparently through our oversight mechanisms.
  • Through the extensive and regular engagement events held every week between Met leaders and London's communities we will use every opportunity to listen to community concerns and seek their ideas on how we can improve further.
  • I am further strengthening our Professionalism Command, with the appointment of an additional Deputy Assistant Commissioner (DAC) focused on operational standards, enabling the existing DAC for Professional Standards to focus exclusively on this. This is a significant additional senior appointment.
  • I will make even more clear, and at every opportunity, in our communication internally and externally, that we are and want to be seen as an actively anti-racist organisation and one that does not tolerate bullying, harassment and discrimination. We are accelerating the delivery of a hard-hitting internal communications campaign to reinforce this. I know that this is not just about communications though, and this will be a key plank of our STRIDE Delivery Plan for 2022-23 which we are currently finalising. We will continue our extensive and positive engagement with our Independent Advisory Groups (IAGs) and Staff Support Networks.
  • The Deputy Commissioner will personally brief all 733 recently promoted Sergeants, reiterating my expectations of them in their key leadership role to promote and maintain the highest of standards.
  • I have asked the College of Policing to undertake an urgent review of our policy on officers subject to misconduct processes or outcomes being able to seek promotion. Whether or not this leads to proposals for change will be a matter for the review to explore, but I will want to discuss with the Deputy Mayor how MOPAC can also provide input to this work.
  • We have agreed with the Chief Executive of the College of Policing to identify outstanding examples of relevant work elsewhere on building trust and confidence in policing, which could translate quickly into the Met.
Wayne Couzens

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Whilst already set out in our plans, I have asked for urgent advice from our experts on whether we can move faster on two key aspects of our existing commitments in our Rebuilding Trust Plan:

  • Our commitment to explore new ways to assess candidates during initial police officer recruitment — to understand whether it is possible to fairly identify those who are more likely to compromise on our standards and values.
  • Our commitment to accelerate the use of information technology to help us better prevent misconduct by focusing on interventions.

You will also recall that in October I commissioned three detailed reviews of different aspects of current and historic misconduct cases and allegations.

This detailed work has progressed at pace and is now nearing conclusion. I expect to receive the findings within the next four weeks.

I will of course share the findings with the Deputy Mayor and we will respond robustly to any concerns that arise.

I also look forward to discussing further with you the scope to explore jointly, and with Government and partners across policing, critical policy issues that I believe require urgent attention:

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  • I know you share my frustration that the misconduct process, for all its careful construction after extensive consultation, takes too long and takes too little account of the importance of public trust and confidence. I do not under-estimate the challenge of achieving change here within a national system, but a wide debate is needed and one I think we can lead from London.
  • Whether we should have the ability to review the phone and social media accounts of officers and staff — on a random or with cause basis — to assess whether they are expressing inappropriate views which may undermine their ability to be a police officer, or which could undermine public trust and confidence. This is a contested and complex area, but is again one that I think we could jointly lead a national debate from London.
Dame Cressida Dick’s letter to Sadiq Khan. Credit: Met Police

I know that trust and confidence is critical to the Met's mission and our ability to deliver for London's communities.

Ultimately, our vision is for the Met to be the most trusted police service in the world.

I know that we have a significant amount of work to do achieve our vision and that it will be challenging.

Over the weeks and months ahead, more cases will come to light which raise questions about the Met's culture and our standards. As we up the ante on standards, it is

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inevitable.

As I have said I and my senior team are resolute in our determination and commitment to this. On Monday Baroness Louise Casey starts her independent review of the Met's culture and standards; I cannot overemphasise the importance of this.

The additional substantial steps outlined in this letter, building on the progress of the last five years and our most recent Rebuilding Trust Plan,

will further accelerate the progress I am determined achieve. I look forward to discussing this further with you at the earliest opportunity.