Taking The Reins

Posted On 17 Mar 2017
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Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI: Editor of Risk UK

Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI: Editor of Risk UK

Late last month, Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced that Cressida Dick CBE QPM would be taking office as the first-ever female Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service. The appointment was ratified by Her Majesty The Queen following a recommendation from Rudd. The views of Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, were also considered by the Home Secretary as part of this recommendation, with the new incumbent taking over the role from (then) current Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe QPM on Wednesday 22 February.

Working with the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime and, indeed, partners from right across the criminal justice system, Cressida Dick is now responsible for overseeing the Metropolitan Police Service’s crucial work in preventing crime and bringing offenders to justice, while also continuing to ensure an effective national response to the ongoing threat posed by terrorism.

An exceptional leader with a demonstrably clear vision for the future of the Metropolitan Police Service, Cressida Dick is absolutely the right choice to lead the Met as this present Conservative Government continues its detailed task of reforming the police service. Experience gained as the Met’s national policing lead on counter-terrorism will help her to meet head-on the myriad threats posed to security in London.

Before 2005, Cressida attracted relatively little media attention, but became well-known as having been the officer in command of the operation which led to the fatal shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes. Some four years further on, she was promoted to the rank of Assistant Commissioner, thus becoming the first female to hold this rank substantively.

Referencing her new responsibilities in an official statement, Cressida Dick – who departed the Met back in December 2014 after a 31-year career to pursue a role with the Foreign Office – duly observed: “This is a great responsibility and an amazing opportunity. 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.”

The appointment now means that five of the most senior figures serving in the British criminal justice system are women, with Lynne Owens presently heading up the National Crime Agency, Sara Thornton – who was in the running for the Met Commissioner’s role along with Essex Police chief constable Stephen Kavanagh and Scotland Yard’s Mark Rowley – chairing the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Alison Saunders presiding over the Crown Prosecution Service and Rudd in charge at the Home Office. “A brilliant beacon,” opined Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, “for women within and beyond this force.”

The Met is a policing force like no other. It employs no less than 43,000 people and operates on a budget of £3 billion. That’s a jaw-dropping sum of money, but doesn’t prevent the incoming Commissioner from facing an immediate budgetary crisis, with the Met now having to save hundreds of millions of pounds under austerity measures while contending with political and public pressure to maintain officer numbers on the streets.

Going forward, squaring those two circles will be no easy task.

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.