Stephen Lawrence's father condemns Cressida Dick for decisions

Stephen Lawrence’s father condemns Cressida Dick for two ‘disastrous’ decisions ending hopes of justice for his murdered son as Met chief gets two-year extension

  • Neville Lawrence attacked Priti Patel’s decision to keep Dame Cressida Dick on
  • Stephen Lawrence’s father said she twice ‘betrayed the trust’ he placed in her
  • He blamed the Met chief for two decisions that ended his hope of seeing justice
  • They were told the case was closed despite some murderers still being at large

Critics of Cressida Dick vented their outrage last night after she was granted a two-year extension at Scotland Yard.

Stephen Lawrence’s father blamed the Met chief for two ‘disastrous’ decisions that had ended his hope of seeing every member of the racist gang who killed his son face justice.

Angrily attacking Home Secretary Priti Patel’s decision to keep Dame Cressida on, Neville Lawrence said the officer had twice ‘betrayed the trust’ he had placed in her.

He was joined in his condemnation by the family of Jean Charles de Menezes, who was mistakenly shot dead in an operation headed by Dame Cressida. 

Angrily attacking Home Secretary Priti Patel’s decision to keep Dame Cressida on, Neville Lawrence (pictured) said the officer had twice ‘betrayed the trust’ he had placed in her

The Scotland Yard commissioner ‘should have been fired long ago, not had her contract extended,’ Maria de Menezes, 76, said last night from her home in Brazil.

Dr Lawrence said the first ‘disastrous’ setback in bringing his son’s killers to justice came in 2012 when Dame Cressida enforced the retirement of Clive Driscoll, a brilliant detective whose five-year re-investigation resulted in two of Stephen’s killers being jailed for life.

The second setback came last summer, when Dame Cressida asked Dr Lawrence and his former wife Baroness Lawrence to Scotland Yard to break the devastating news that, although at least three of the murderers remain at large, the landmark case was being closed.

‘If they want Cressida Dick for another two years, it’s up to them, but as far as I’m concerned she has done nothing to deserve it,’ Dr Lawrence said last night from his Jamaican home.

Last summer, Dame Cressida (pictured) told Dr Lawrence and Baroness Lawrence that although at least three of Stephen’s murderers remain at large, the case was being closed

‘I thought she would drive through the changes that are badly needed in the Met, and make it a better place, but since she became commissioner, what has she done? Nothing.

‘In my view, the Metropolitan Police is an apartheid organisation. And the job they were intended to do – to protect the public from crime, regardless of who they are – the Met no longer do that.

‘They are stopping reputable people because of their colour, even parliamentarians and people driving home with their children.’

Dr Lawrence blamed the Met chief for two ‘disastrous’ decisions that ended his hope of seeing justice for Stephen (pictured)

Dame Cressida was gold commander when innocent electrician Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, was pinned down and shot dead at Stockwell tube station having been mistaken for a suicide bomber.

His mother said: ‘I have always held her complicit in Jean’s death. I knew she wasn’t the right person to command a police force and it causes me pain every day that she was given this position. She should have been fired long ago.

‘Jean’s death was a brutality which should never have happened and if she was a good leader who knew how to control her officers he might still be alive today.’

Radio DJ Paul Gambaccini, who was arrested during Operation Yewtree in 2013 and spent a year on bail before the case was dropped, joined six other victims of police malpractice to write to Boris Johnson earlier this week urging him to appoint a different commissioner. 

He said it was a ‘very foolish’ decision to extend Dame Cressida’s leadership. 

However she was last night given the full support of the Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents more than 30,000 rank-and-file officers in London. 

Its chairman Ken Marsh said that her ‘ability to communicate with officers of all ranks was quite incredible’.

Dame Cressida said she was ‘immensely honoured’ by her renewed appointment.

A decision that’s wrong, deluded and naked self-interest: STUART LAWRENCE condemns Met chief Cressida Dick’s two-year extension

The extension of Dame Cressida Dick’s tenure as commissioner of the Metropolitan Police is not simply wrong, it is outrageous.

She has put her career and the reputation of the Met before the need for reform.

If Dick had been able to take a long hard look at herself and the extent of her failings in recent years, she would go quietly and with some dignity intact.

But her decision to cling on until April 2024 helps no one. Not Dame Cressida herself, as her reputation will be further tarnished by this naked display of self-delusion at best, self-interest at worse. And certainly not the Met.

It is an institution in desperate need of someone new, someone who is not mired in the failures and shortcomings of several major policing scandals if it is to meet the needs of the people it serves and to fulfil its role – to seek the truth, and bring justice for all, regardless of who or what this might expose or embarrass.

Our family is still waiting for the hearings into the corruption and misconduct in the investigation into my brother Stephen’s murder. We still want to know the truth about why things happened the way they did.

The extension of Dame Cressida Dick’s tenure as commissioner of the Metropolitan Police is not simply wrong, it is outrageous, says Stuart Lawrence (pictured)

Dame Cressida’s decision to stay on sends a clear signal to us – and to many others who are still waiting for answers and action on allegations of police corruption, malpractice, mismanagement and misconduct in the Met in several high-profile cases.

That signal is: you can keep on waiting…

Dame Cressida and I have met on several occasions. She seemed sincere in her desire to really make a difference.

As a family, we had high hopes that at long last we would learn the truth about Stephen’s murder and about the corruption and institutionalised racism that prevented him from getting justice. At last, we thought, this Met commissioner really means it.

It gives me no pleasure at all to say it, but we have been bitterly disappointed. Since we met her in 2017 when she was appointed as the first female Met commissioner, for all her promises, not one corrupt police officer has been held to account.

She has constantly ducked the chance to make a difference.

Part of me thinks we should not have expected anything different. Dame Cressida has been in the Met for nearly 30 years, so I supposed it’s not entirely surprising that she is institutionalised.

But then again I think about what we tell our children about dealing with their mistakes: To admit them and to find out why they happened and to learn from them so they don’t do the same again.

I wish that Dame Cressida Dick (pictured) had had the moral courage to accept that in her four-year tenure she has failed to make a difference. She has to take responsibility

This is what the Met needed to do – but under Dick it has utterly failed to deliver that. 

Instead of exposing failings, the Met has simply brushed them aside, closing ranks. So we can only wonder how far and how deep the corruption goes. 

There has been plenty of lip service paid to rooting out racism and corruption, and endless reports – with many redactions – but no real action or reform.

Yes there have been some improvements made in the 28 years since Stephen’s murder, but I believe the system is still corrupt. 

The Met needs a bold, radical new leader to make meaningful change, to take on the entrenched culture and behaviour that works against justice, not for it. 

I wish that Dame Cressida had had the moral courage to accept that in her four-year tenure she has failed to make a difference. 

She has to take responsibility: the Met is a top-down organisation so truly the buck stops with her. 

I don’t know what she hopes to achieve in the next two years but as far as we as a family are concerned, it’ll be another two years of no answers, no justice, no real change.

We can only hope that, when she finally does go, the Met will get a leader who is fearless enough to ensure that the whole, raw, gritty, truth is revealed, no matter how painful for the institution.

Stuart Lawrence has worked for the Home Office, in the criminal justice system, as a secondary school teacher and as a graphic designer. 

His brother Stephen was murdered by racist thugs in south-east London in 1993. 

Despite the initial police probe being riddled with allegations of serious misconduct and gross incompetence no officers have been held to account.

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