Cressida Dick will be the next commissioner of the Metropolitan police, it has been announced.
It will be the first time in the history of the Met that it has been led by a woman. Dick, 56, now works at the Foreign Office and was formerly the Met’s head of counter-terrorism.
The choice was made on Wednesday after candidates who had applied for the role of Britain’s top police officer were interviewed by a panel that included the home secretary, Amber Rudd, and London’s Labour mayor, Sadiq Khan.
The home secretary made the final decision but under the law had to take into account the views of the London mayor.
Dick’s rise to the top of policing comes despite the controversy around her role in the 2005 operation that saw an innocent man, Jean Charles de Menezes shot dead by police who mistook him for a suicide bomber. A jury at a criminal trial in 2007 exonerated her of any personal blame, but some thought her role in the disaster could block her becoming leader of the Met.
The Met is Britain’s biggest British force, consuming around a quarter of spending on policing in England and Wales. It was founded in 1829 and as well as covering London it has national functions including counter terrorism and diplomatic and VIP protection.
The new commissioner replaces Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the first Met commissioner since 2005 to complete a full five-year term in office. Previous to him, Sir Ian Blair and Sir Paul Stephenson had both resigned mid-term after being dogged by controversy.
The new commissioner faces a tightening financial climate, some crime types rising and the challenge of keeping the capital safe from a severe and enduring threat.
The appointment is by royal warrant and is usually for a five-year term, which can be extended.
Dick was chosen from a field of candidates including Mark Rowley, a Met assistant commissioner who leads on counter-terrorism across British policing, and ex-Met veteran Stephen Kavanagh, chief constable of Essex police.