Cressida Dick

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Dame Cressida Dick

Keith Palmer's funeral (006) (cropped).jpg
Cressida Dick in 2017
Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
Assumed office
10 April 2017
DeputySir Craig Mackey
Sir Stephen House
Home SecretaryAmber Rudd
Sajid Javid
Priti Patel
Deputy MayorSophie Linden
Preceded bySir Bernard Hogan-Howe
Assistant Commissioner
for Specialist Operations
In office
July 2011 – January 2015
Preceded byJohn Yates
Succeeded byMark Rowley
Deputy Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
In office
8 November 2011 – 23 January 2012
Preceded byTim Godwin
Succeeded byCraig Mackey
Personal details
Cressida Rose Dick

(1960-10-16) 16 October 1960 (age 60)
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England
Domestic partnerHelen
Alma mater
ProfessionPolice officer

Dame Cressida Rose Dick DBE QPM (born 16 October 1960[1]) is a British senior police officer who in 2017 was appointed Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) in London.

Cressida Dick, head of the Metropolitan Police, is the first woman to take charge of the service, being selected for the role in February 2017 and taking office on 10 April 2017.

Dick served as acting Deputy Commissioner in the interim between Deputy Commissioner Tim Godwin's retirement and his permanent successor, Craig Mackey, taking office at the end of January 2012.

Before 2005, she attracted little media attention, but she became well known when she headed the operation which led to the fatal shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes. She was cleared of personal blame in a 2007 criminal trial.[2] In June 2009, she was promoted to the rank of assistant commissioner, the first woman to hold this rank substantively.

On 22 February 2017, the Home Office and the MPS jointly announced that she would be appointed as the next Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis by Queen Elizabeth II, on the formal recommendation of Home Secretary Amber Rudd. She is the first woman to hold this appointment.[3]

Early life[edit]

Cressida Dick is the third and youngest child of Marcus William Dick,[citation needed] Senior Tutor at Balliol College, Oxford,[4] and Professor of Philosophy at the University of East Anglia,[5] and Cecilia (née Buxton), a University of Oxford historian. She was born and brought up in Oxford, England, and educated at the Dragon School, Oxford High School, Balliol College, Oxford where she gained a BA in Agriculture & Forest Sciences in 1979,[6] and Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge where she gained an MSt in Criminology in 2001.[7][8] Before joining the police, she worked in a large accountancy firm.[citation needed]

Police career[edit]

In 1983, Dick joined the Metropolitan Police as a constable. From 1993, she was a tutor on the accelerated promotion course at Bramshill Police College, and in 1995, transferred to Thames Valley Police as a superintendent. She was operations superintendent at Oxford, and later, area commander in Oxford for three years. In 1996/7 she passed the Matrix course at Common Purpose Oxfordshire. In 2000, she completed the strategic command course and, in 2001, she graduated as a Master of Philosophy in criminology from Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, with the highest grade in her year.[8]

In June 2001, she returned to the MPS as a commander, where she was head of the diversity directorate until 2003. She then became the head of Operation Trident, which investigates and targets gang related crime.

In the immediate aftermath of 21 July 2005 London bombings, she was the gold commander in the control room during the operation which led to the death of the Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes, wrongly identified as a potential suicide bomber.[9]

In September 2006, the Metropolitan Police Authority announced her promotion to the rank of deputy assistant commissioner, specialist operations. On 30 June 2009 the Metropolitan Police Authority announced her promotion to assistant commissioner, in charge of the Specialist Crime Directorate.[10]

In July 2011, Dick was appointed assistant commissioner, specialist operations following the resignation of John Yates in the wake of the phone hacking scandal.[11]

Dick was appointed acting deputy commissioner, and held the post between the retirement of Tim Godwin and the commencement of the new deputy commissioner Craig Mackey's term at the beginning of 2012. She held the rank until 23 January 2012.[12]

In February 2013, she was assessed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4.[13]

Dick was awarded the Queen's Police Medal for Distinguished Service in the 2010 New Year Honours.[14]

It was announced in December 2014 that she would retire from the police in 2015 to join the Foreign Office, in an unspecified director-general level posting.[15][16][17] She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to policing.[18] In September 2019, she was promoted Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in Theresa May's resignation honours.[19]

Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police[edit]

On 22 February 2017, the Home Office and the MPS jointly announced that Dick would be appointed as the next Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police by the Queen, on the recommendation of the Home Secretary Amber Rudd.[20] She assumed office on 10 April 2017; her first official engagement was that afternoon being at the funeral of PC Keith Palmer, the officer killed in the 2017 Westminster attack.[21]

Dick is negotiating with the government in an effort to increase funding for the MPS. She said to LBC, "[Terrorism] is a shifting threat, not a spike, that puts a strain not just on counter-terror police but neighbourhood officers. This is not sustainable for my police service."[22] Dick fears the MPS will need to find £400 million per year savings in addition to the £600 million annual savings they have already found. She fears this will make fighting crime harder. Dick said, "I find it incredible to think that anybody would think that over the next four or five years we should lose that much extra out of our budget."[23]

In June 2017 Dick faced criticism for praising the "diversity" of the victims of the Islamic terror attack on London Bridge that killed eight people. Dick claimed that the nationalities of those killed told a proud story of the city's diversity, noting that "among those who died is someone who’s British, there are French, Australian, Canadian, Spanish".[24]

Dick said she is sure cuts to police funding in London is one factor among others in rising violent crime in there. The Guardian reported in May 2018 that the number of police officers fell below 35,000 for the first time in 15 years. Dick responded, "I'm hoping that we will get to well over 30,500 officers, more than 500 more than we currently have, by the end of next year [2019]." Dick also partly blamed social media for growing violent crime. Dick said, "We are seeing the glamorisation of violence, we are seeing social media being used to taunt other gangs, to bring violence about very quickly."[25] Dick said:

Dick is concerned about the effect of a no deal Brexit. She fears this would be costly and would put the public at risk, commenting "We will have to replace some of the things we currently use in terms of access to databases, the way in which we can quickly extradite and arrest people … [We will] have to replace them as effectively as we can, but it will be more costly, slower and potentially put [the] public at risk … There is no doubt about that. This is one of many things politicians deciding what to do need to be thinking about. (...) We would hope that we have as much as possible the instruments we currently have or something similar, as quickly as possible, to keep the public safe. The consequences of not having those things, and if there was [a] no-deal scenario, would be difficult in the short term".[26]

Dick's official portrait as Commissioner was unveiled in July 2019 as part of the commemorations to mark 100 years of women in the Metropolitan Police. The oil painting was paid for by Dick from out of her own salary to save public funds, and shows the commissioner in front of a map of London. She is portrayed in a police shirt rather than full tunic uniform, and sat for twenty hours in her own time for the artist Frances Bell. It will hang at the Hendon training centre alongside portraits of her 26 male predecessors. Portraits are usually unveiled after a Commissioner has stepped down, but Dick's colleagues felt unveiling her portrait would be a fitting way to mark the centenary of the first woman joining the Met.[27][28]

Personal life[edit]

Dick came out as gay in April 2017, making her the highest-ranked gay officer in British police history. Her partner Helen is also a police officer.[2][29]


Order of the British Empire (Civil) Ribbon.png Queens Police Medal for Merit.png
Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal ribbon.png QEII Diamond Jubilee Medal ribbon.png Police Long Service and Good Conduct ribbon.png

Ribbon Description Notes
Order of the British Empire (Civil) Ribbon.png Order of the British Empire (DBE)
Queens Police Medal for Merit.png Queen's Police Medal (QPM)
Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal ribbon.png Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal
  • 2002
  • UK Version of this Medal
QEII Diamond Jubilee Medal ribbon.png Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
  • 2012
  • UK Version of this Medal
Police Long Service and Good Conduct ribbon.png Police Long Service and Good Conduct Medal


  1. ^ Dodd, Vikram (8 April 2017). "Cressida Dick: the Met's new commissioner needs her wits about her". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b Gerdes, Stefanie (19 April 2017). "London's highest ranking police officer quietly comes out". Gay Star News. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  3. ^ Indo-Asian News Service (23 February 2017). "UK Appoints First Woman Scotland Yard Chief in 187-Year History". The Quint. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
  4. ^ Jones, John (April 1999). "Memorial inscriptions". Balliol College, Oxford. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  5. ^ Sanderson, Michael (2002). The History of the University of East Anglia, Norwich. London: Hambledon and London. ISBN 1852853360.
  6. ^ "First female head of the Metropolitan Police". Balliol College website.
  7. ^ "Cressida Dick". Oxford High School website.
  8. ^ a b Wynter-Vincent, Naomi (2002). "Fitzwilliam Women's Dinner" (PDF). Optima. Cambridge University Press (2): 16. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 July 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2008.
  9. ^ Edwards, Richard; Rayner, Gordon (12 December 2008). "Jean Charles de Menezes inquest: Jury reaches open verdict". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  10. ^ "Metropolitan Police Authority appoints new MPS Assistant Commissioner Specialist Crime" (Press release). Metropolitan Police Authority. 30 June 2009. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  11. ^ "Phone Hacking: botched de Menezes operation officer now counter-terrorism head". The Daily Telegraph. 19 July 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  12. ^ "Acting Deputy Commissioner Cressida Dick". Metropolitan Police Service. 27 December 2011. Archived from the original on 23 December 2011.
  13. ^ "The Power List 2013". Woman's Hour. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  14. ^ "No. 59282". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2009. p. 25.
  15. ^ "Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick to leave Met Police". BBC News. 1 December 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  16. ^ Halliday, Josh (1 December 2014). "Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick to leave Met Police". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  17. ^ Peachey, Paul (2 December 2014). "Britain's top policewoman quits Scotland Yard for the Foreign Office". i.
  18. ^ "No. 61092". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2014. p. N9.
  19. ^ "Boycott 'doesn't give a toss' about award critics". 10 September 2019. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  20. ^ "Met Police appoints first female chief Cressida Dick". BBC News. 22 February 2017. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  21. ^ Davies, Caroline (10 April 2017). "PC Keith Palmer funeral: police pay tribute to officer's heroism". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  22. ^ "UK's terror fight 'puts unsustainable strain on police'". BBC News. 22 September 2017. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  23. ^ Dodd, Vikram (31 October 2017). "Met police chief warns further cuts will make it harder to fight crime". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  24. ^ "London Bridge attack: Cressida Dick hails ‘diversity’ of victims".
  25. ^ Met chief says budget cuts have contributed to rise in violent crime The Guardian. 18 May 2018
  26. ^ No-deal Brexit could put public at risk, says Met police chief The Guardian
  27. ^ "Cressida Dick portrait marks 100 years of women in the Met". Evening Standard. 12 July 2019. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  28. ^ "Portrait unveiled of the first female Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police". ITV News. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  29. ^ Tom Harper (30 September 2018). "Keep sexuality undercover, Met police boss Cressida Dick told Brian Paddick". The Times. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  30. ^ "Resignation Honours 2019" (PDF). Cabinet Office. 10 September 2019. Retrieved 10 September 2019. KBE/DBE Cressida DICK CBE QPM Commissionerof the Metropolitan Police Service. For public service.
  31. ^ "UK's most senior police officer awarded honorary degree from Cranfield".

External links[edit]

Police appointments
Preceded by
John Yates
Assistant Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
(Specialist Crime Directorate)

Succeeded by
Lynne Owens
Assistant Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
(Specialist Operations)

Succeeded by
Pat Gallan
Preceded by
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe
Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis