ame Cressida Dick requested a severance payout of half-a-million pounds when she stepped down as commissioner of the Metropolitan Police last year, according to reports.
A Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the Guardian is said to have uncovered “tense and bitter messages” exchanged in the lead-up to Dame Cressida’s resignation, as her senior aide discussed financial arrangements with advisers for Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.
The former commissioner announced she was stepping down last February following a scandal-hit five-year tenure, after saying Mr Khan “no longer had sufficient confidence” in her leadership.
A report ordered by the Home Secretary later found Dame Cressida had “felt intimidated” into quitting her role and was effectively “constructively dismissed” by the Mayor of London – findings disputed by Mr Khan who said the report was “clearly biased”.
According to correspondence seen by the Guardian, Dame Cressida’s representatives initially requested a payout worth around £500,000 as she prepared to step down last year.
The Guardian reports Robin Wilkinson, the Met’s former chief of corporate services, believed Dame Cressida was “entitled” to two years’ severance after being forced out.
When the commissioner stood down in February she had 26 months of her contract remaining at a salary of £240,000 per annum, says the Guardian.
According to the newspaper, Mr Wilkinson messaged the mayor’s chief of staff David Bellamy saying Dame Cressida “has contract to end April 2024. 6 months notice in contract but we know this isn’t voluntary. Lawyers clear Cress entitled to full amount.”
Mr Bellamy told Mr Wilkinson he would be willing to pay Dame Cressida six months’ salary, and that this was not open to negotiation, according to the report commissioned by the Home Secretary and carried out by Sir Thomas Winsor.
Mr Wilkinson rejected this saying it was unacceptable, according to Sir Tom’s report.
But Mr Bellamy reportedly said Dame Cressida would either need to meet with Mr Khan and confirm she was happy stepping aside “on these terms”, adding that the Mayor was keen to make an announcement by the end of the day.
Mr Wilkinson reportedly said the timescale was unreasonable and the “take it or leave it” terms unacceptable, but added that the position was understood and that he would discuss the situation with Dame Cressida.
According to the Guardian, she ultimately agreed the six-month payout “plus an additional payment of two months’ salary, totalling £165,727.36”.
Among major scandals that marred Dame Cressida’s tenure was the murder of Sarah Everard by serving Met officer Wayne Couzens, the revelation “shocking” racist, sexist and homophobic messages had been exchanged by police officers at Charing Cross, and the Met’s delay in investigating the Partygate scandal.
She faced widespread calls to resign as the Met was dogged by reports of institutional misogyny, racism and homophobia.
Just last month the Met was plunged into fresh crisis when David Carrick admitted a horrific campaign of rapes, sexual abuse and violent crimes against women throughout his career in the Met – and it emerged his pay was not stopped until last December, more than a year after he was first charged with rape.
The Met declined to comment on the financial arrangements surrounding Dame Cressida’s departure when approached about the Guardian’s story.
The force instead referred the Standard to a comment issued in September following the publication of Sir Tom’s report.
Acting Commissioner Sir Steve House said at the time: “I welcome the publication of this report.
“I am pleased the Home Secretary was able to respond to my request for a review and I am grateful to Sir Tom Winsor for his thorough and impartial report.”