Sir Steve House to act as MPS Commissioner as Home Office reviews handling of Dame Cressida’s resignation

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick will leave her post in April, the Home Secretary has confirmed.

Mar 28, 2022
By Paul Jacques
Deputy Commissioner Sir Steve House

Dame Cressida resigned from her position last month after losing the support of the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, but agreed to stay on until arrangements to appoint her successor had been finalised.

Priti Patel said Deputy Commissioner Sir Steve House QPM will temporarily cover as head of the MPS until the next commissioner is appointed.

She said he will  exercise the powers and duties of the Commissioner to “provide continuity and stability at a pivotal time for the force” until a permanent successor is appointed.

An appointment is expected to be made in the summer.

The Home Office said the new Commissioner will be expected to “prioritise increasing confidence in policing at a challenging time, reducing violence in the city, tackling the abuse of women and girls, ridding streets of drugs, knives and weapons, and protecting Londoners from harm”.

The Home Office also confirmed it is launching a formal review into the circumstances leading up to Dame Cressida’s departure from her role in order to establish whether due process was followed and whether any changes to process need to be made.

The review will be led by the outgoing Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Sir Tom Winsor.

It will seek to:

  • Establish and assess the full facts, timeline of events and circumstances which resulted in the stepping aside of Dame Cressida;
  • Consider whether due process was followed; and
  • Include recommendations on how accountability and due process may be strengthened

The review will begin on April 1 and is expected to conclude in the summer once Sir Tom has gathered evidence from the London Mayor’s Office and Dame Cressida. It is anticipated that the Home Secretary will report the key findings in the House of Commons.

Ms Patel said: “Dame Cressida Dick was at the helm of the Met during extremely tough times, with terror attacks and the pandemic among the challenges she faced.

“Her dedication to protecting London and Londoners has helped drive down serious violence in the city and for that in particular she deserves our gratitude.

“Sir Steve House, her current deputy, will provide the stability and continuity the force needs as we focus on appointing the right person to lead the country’s largest force and make London an even safer place to live, work and visit.”

Ms Patel added: “It is right that we have appropriate legislation in place to govern the modern policing environment and I believe the circumstances leading up to Dame Cressida’s departure warrant further scrutiny, which is why I have commissioned Sir Tom Winsor to conduct this review.”

Section 48 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 governs the suspension and removal of the MPS commissioner and deputy commissioner.

The Home Office said Dame Cressida, the first woman to hold the role of commissioner, has shown “exceptional dedication to fighting crime and protecting Londoners from harm in one of the toughest leadership jobs in the country”.

It added that terms of departure for Dame Cressida exact leaving date were a matter for City Hall, but understands that these are yet to been finalised.

In response to the Home Secretary’s statement, the MPS said: “We are pleased the Home Secretary has announced a review into the circumstances that led to Commissioner Cressida Dick stepping aside.

“We will fully support Sir Tom Winsor in his work.”

The new commissioner will be appointed by the Queen, following a recommendation by the Home Secretary, who will consider any representations made by the Mayor of London.

“The recruitment process will be done as swiftly as possible, however, the priority will be to select the very best for person for the job, to deliver the safer streets and communities the British public deserves,” said the Home Office.

Sir Steve was appointed deputy commissioner of the MPS in December 2018.

He began his career at Sussex Police in 1981, and has worked in various forces, including Northamptonshire, West Yorkshire and Staffordshire Police. In 2001, he joined the MPS as a deputy assistant commissioner, remaining there until 2007, when he was appointed chief constable of Strathclyde Police.

Following the establishment of Police Scotland in 2012, Sir Steve was appointed the new force’s first chief constable. In 2018, he returned to the MPS as an assistant commissioner, becoming deputy commissioner later that year.

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