A woman has just been appointed as the next commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, making it the first time the force has been led by a woman in its 187-year history.
Cressida Dick, 56, currently works at the Foreign Office and previously headed up counter-terrorism at the Met. When she takes over the role from Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, Dick will become the most powerful police officer in the country and will be in the post for at least five years, The Guardian reported.
The Met consumes a quarter of the whole policing budget for England and Wales and is the country’s biggest police force. It also has national responsibilities, such as counter-terrorism and diplomatic and VIP protection.
Dick’s biggest challenges will be coping with a tighter budget, dealing with the rise in certain types of crime and protecting London from a severe and enduring threat of terrorism.
The final decision was made today by the Conservative Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, who by law also had to consider the views of London’s Labour mayor, Sadiq Khan, The Guardian reported.
Dick said she is “thrilled and humbled” to have shattered a glass ceiling that is nearly two centuries old, The Guardian reported. “I’m looking forward immensely to protecting and serving the people of London and working again with the fabulous women and men of the Met,” she added.
Rudd said: “Cressida’s skills and insight will ensure the Metropolitan police adapt to the changing patterns of crime in the 21 century and continue to keep communities safe across London and the UK.
“Cressida is absolutely the right choice to lead the Metropolitan police as this government continues its work to reform the police, and I look forward to working with her to make a real difference to policing in the capital.”
Sadiq Khan said Dick "has already had a long and distinguished career, and her experience and ability has shone throughout this process," reported The Guardian.
“This is a historic day for London and a proud day for me as mayor. The Metropolitan Police do an incredible job, working hard with enormous dedication every single day to keep Londoners safe, so for me it was absolutely essential that we found the best possible person to take the Met forward over the coming years and I am confident that we have succeeded.”
Dick's appointment means women will now be holding five of the top roles in the criminal justice system in England and Wales. A woman is currently at the helm of the National Crime Agency (Lynne Owens), the Crown Prosecution Service (Alison Saunders), the Home Office (Amber Rudd) and the National Police Chiefs Council (Sara Thornton).
Let’s hope they use their power and influence to lift other women to the top of their institutions, instead of pulling the ladders up behind them.