'I'll block next Met boss from the job if they won't reform it' Khan tells Patel

17 June 2022, 14:32 | Updated: 17 June 2022, 15:18

Sadiq Khan threatened to block the Met's next commissioner if they aren't a reformer
Sadiq Khan threatened to block the Met's next commissioner if they aren't a reformer. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Sadiq Khan has threatened to block the appointment of the Met's new boss unless they're prepared to reform the troubled police service.

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The mayor of London said it his his "personal" mission to ensure the service is changed for the better after Cressida Dick quit, saying she had lost Mr Khan's confidence.

Whoever replaces her will lead a force rocked by the murder of Sarah Everard by one of its officers and other scandals that ruin public faith in the institution.

Speaking on Friday, four months after Dame Cressida's resignation, the mayor said: "I won't support the appointment of a new commissioner unless they can demonstrate they understand the true extent of the cultural and organisation problems.

"London needs a reforming commissioner... I'll accept nothing less."

Mr Khan's role in appointing the next commissioner is diminished through the mechanism used to appoint the Met's leaders.

The Queen formally appoints them after a recommendation from the home secretary, Priti Patel. She must take Mr Khan's own thoughts on the appointment on board.

Cressida Dick quit the Met after saying Sadiq Khan no longer had confidence in her
Cressida Dick quit the Met after saying Sadiq Khan no longer had confidence in her. Picture: Alamy

A rift between Mr Khan and Ms Patel has broken out over Dame Cressida's resignation, though he said he is "hopeful" he can work with her on the appointment.

The race is down to Sir Mark Rowley, the former Counter Terrorism Command boss who was in charge during the attacks at Westminster, Manchester and London Bridge in 2017.

Met Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave is his rival for the post.

Read more: Four Met Police officers investigated after black schoolgirl strip-searched

Read more: Met PCSO fined after being filmed committing public sex act in London park

Wayne Couzens, who served in the Met's Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection branch, was jailed for life for the kidnap, rape and murder of 33-year-old marketing executive Sarah Everard.

It triggered widespread anger at the Met and raised questions over whether it missed red flags about his behaviour, fury that was only enflamed when officers broke up at vigil for Ms Everard in 2021 during Covid rules.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct uncovered evidence of bullying and as well as a culture of racist abuse and misogyny within the ranks of the Metropolitan Police at Charing Cross police station in London.

Sadiq Khan said he wants a reforming Met commissioner
Sadiq Khan said he wants a reforming Met commissioner. Picture: Alamy

Its probe began after an officer was accused of having sex with drunk person at the police station and a report found police joked about rape and sent racist and homophobic messages as "banter".

Mr Khan has called for better vetting of officers and changes to how misconduct issues are handled.

Referring to the Stephen Lawrence inquiry in 1999, which found the Met was "institutionally racist", Mr Khan said: "This judgment was a landmark moment in the history of British race relations, triggering far-reaching reforms to policing, public services and criminal law.

Read more: Met Police’s troubles 'not just down to a few bad apples’, top cop admits

"There's no doubt that the police and criminal justice system have made significant and positive steps forward since then.

"But it's become painfully clear that further reform on a far-reaching scale is now urgently needed."

Speaking at City Hall in London Docklands, he added: "It's really important for the next commissioner, for the police to understand that trust or confidence... is integral to keeping our city safe," he said.

"It's personal for me because I experienced the bad old days of the police service in the 70s and 80s.

"I remember the impacts on people of colour, people like me, we heard stories about the police being abusive and misusing their powers."