London Police chief resigns in wake of multiple scandals
Britain's most senior officer announced her resignation after London's mayor Sadiq Khan said he no longer had faith in her leadership.
London's police chief Cressida Dick announced she is stepping down following a string of scandals of police misconduct involving racism, sexism, and the murder of a young woman by a London police officer.
Dick became the first woman to lead the force in 2017 and has divulged she had "no choice but to step aside" after London's mayor Sadiq Khan said he no longer had faith in her leadership.
"I say this with deep sadness and regret," the UK's most senior police officer said in a televised statement, wearing her uniform.
Khan said Thursday he was "not satisfied with the commissioner's response," after a meeting last week where he insisted broad changes were needed to "root out the racism, sexism, homophobia, bullying, discrimination and misogyny" in the force.
Dick said she felt "huge sadness", but it was "clear that the mayor no longer has sufficient confidence in my leadership to continue." She had been set to stay as head of the service until 2024.
Her sudden announcement comes as her police force investigates the "Partygate" scandal swirling around Prime Minister Boris Johnson over alleged parties held in breach of coronavirus restrictions.
London Police report paints a clear image of disgraceful behavior
According to an official report from England's police watchdog, London police officers routinely made jokes about rape and exchanged racist messages, detailing a pattern of misogyny and bullying in the force, the latest blow to an embattled service that has faced intense scrutiny in recent months.
The findings reflected a troubling culture within the London Metropolitan Police Service, according to the report released by the Independent Office for Police Conduct, the police watchdog, which detailed the incidents were not isolated or the work of a few "bad apples".
According to the article, the probe concluded in September following an examination of hundreds of messages between cops, many of which were “highly sexualized, discriminatory, or referred to violence" and were frequently labeled as "banter" by officers.
The audit discovered evidence within WhatsApp groups containing racist remarks, as well as degrading comments about women. In one exchange, two officers talked about domestic violence, with one officer writing about women, “Knock a bird about and she will love you. Human nature.”
“The behavior we uncovered was disgraceful and fell well below the standards expected of the officers involved,” Sal Naseem, the police watchdog's Regional Director, said in a statement, adding that the "issues are not isolated or historic."
UK Policeman Gets Life Sentence for Rape and Murder
Former police officer Wayne Couzens, 48, was sentenced to life in prison (a rare sentence in the UK) for the kidnap, rape, and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard, as she was walking home in London on March 3.
Lord Justice Adrian Fulford handed down the sentence on Thursday, saying Couzens had gone out on that fateful night to hunt "a lone female to kidnap and rape."
Everard's body was found in Kent, about 100 km southeast of London a week after the murder. The former police officer abused his power as a policeman and used his warrant card and handcuffs to get Everard into his car, under the pretext of March's Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. Couzens then raped and strangled her, before setting fire to her body.
Britain's police misconduct is not only limited to London. A Merseyside police officer was found guilty of a series of offenses during his time in the department for 6 years.
At the crime scene of a murdered teenager, PC Ryan Connolly shared "appalling" racist, homophobic, and abusive images over Whatsapp. The officer was found guilty of taking and distributing photos on his personal Samsung phone.
The Merseyside Police confirmed that the officer photographed people in mental centers and hospitals as well.
The force announced that Conolly's actions are gross misconduct that "insult" the majority of those who served in the force.