Ex-Tory Leader Iain Duncan Smith Says Met Commissioner Dick Must Make Way for a ‘New Broom’
14:12 GMT 03.10.2021 (Updated: 20:57 GMT 03.10.2021)
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick is under pressure to quit — not for the first time in her career — over the kidnapping and murder of a London woman by one of her serving officers.
A former Conservative Party leader has called for London's top cop to go over the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving officer.
Iain Duncan Smith (IDS) told Sky News'
Trevor Phillips that it was "time for a new broom" at the London Metropolitan Police
, and that Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick should "step down".
"I think there are issues here about leadership and focus", IDS said, "and I think the Met has got to have somebody in charge now who understands the dynamic of what they do, how it works best".
Speaking hours before the start of the Conservative Party's annual conference in Manchester, he said the public must be able to rely on the police to be "both forceful where necessary, but also helpful and can be trusted".
"It may require that she steps down and that somebody else is able to take over, because I think it is time now for a new broom as it were", the former leader said.
Former Women's Minister Nicky Morgan backed calls by ex-Met Police Chief Superintendent Parm Sandhu for a re-vetting of all serving officers, and said the "test" of whether Dick should continue was how she plans to change the "culture" in the force.
"This is a much broader cultural issue... in all organisations and on our streets as well", she said. "It is just appalling and unacceptable that women and girls do not feel safe when they are walking around, often in broad daylight".
"It's a cultural issue that the police have absolutely got to get to grips with, and frankly that's the test for Cressida Dick", Morgan stressed. "I'd like to hear from her a plan about how she's going to tackle changing the culture in the Met... That's the test for whether she keeps the job or not".
Conservative co-chairman Oliver Dowden said he and Prime Minister Boris Johnson both "profoundly disagreed" with elected Conservative North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Allott's "stupid" comments that women needed to be more "streetwise". But Dowden stopped short of calling for Allott's replacement, saying he had "rightly apologised".
3 October 2021, 09:36 GMT
was handed down a whole-life sentence on Thursday for the murder of Sarah Everard on Clapham Common in south-west London in March this year.
Couzens, who was a serving police officer at the time, kidnapped Everard under the pretext of arresting her for breaching COVID-19 pandemic regulations, despite being off-duty, out of uniform and alone.
Dick described the case on Thursday as "one of the most dreadful events" in the Met's 190-year-history and a "gross betrayal of everything policing stands for".
But in March, the commissioner ordered a heavy-handed crackdown on women holding a silent candlelight vigil for Everard on Clapham Common — which, it later emerged, Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton attended.
Dick, whose appointment by Labour Mayor of London Sadiq Khan was approved by then-home secretary Amber Rudd, is no stranger to controversy. On 22 July 2005, as a senior commander under Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, she ordered armed officers to shoot dead Brazilian electrician Jean-Charles de Menezes on a London Underground train at Stockwell Station after surveillance officers mistook him for one of the south Asian perpetrators of the previous day's attempted suicide bombings on the network.
Outspoken backbencher IDS was Tory opposition leader from 2001 to 2003, and also served as work and pensions secretary to Prime Minister David Cameron from 2010 to 2016.