Cressida Dick becomes first female Scotland Yard commissioner in 188 years

London: The British government says senior officer Cressida Dick will be the next commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police the first woman to lead Scotland Yard in its 188-year  history. Dick, a former assistant commissioner of the force, succeeds Bernard Hogan-Howe, who is stepping down next week.

Cressida Dick. Reuters

Cressida Dick. Reuters

The Home Office announced the appointment of 56-year-old Dick on Wednesday. Dick is highly regarded by many Scotland Yard peers, but she has drawn criticism for commanding an operation in the wake of the July 2005 London bombings in which an innocent Brazilian man, Jean Charles de Menezes, was shot dead by police after being mistaken for a suicide bomber. A jury cleared Dick of blame, but relatives of de Menezes' had called for her not to be given the top job.

According to The Telegraph, 56-year-old Dick retired from the Met as Assistant Commissioner three years ago, and is taking over from Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, who has retired after five and a half years of serving in the post.

Ms Dick had first joined the Met as a constable way back in 1983, surpassed three other shortlisted candidates before being finalised after a round of interviews with London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Home Secretary Amber Rudd.

According to The Guardian, Dick was “thrilled and humbled”. She acknowledged that this was a great responsibility and an amazing opportunity. She said she was looking forward to working again with the fabulous women and men of the Met and protecting and serving the people of London.

London mayor Sadiq Khan told The Guardian Khan that Cressida will be the first female commissioner of the Met in its 187-year history, and the most powerful police officer in the land. She has already had a long and distinguished career and her experience and ability has shone throughout this process.

The Met is Britain’s biggest security force, consuming about a quarter of spending on policing in England and Wales. Founded in 1829, it focuses on various security functions including diplomatic and VIP protection and counter-terrorism. The Guardian also reported that Dick’s appointment showed that five of the top posts in Wales and England's criminal justice system are now held by women. (With inputs from AP)

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Updated Date: Feb 22, 2017 21:33:00 IST