The Daily Telegraph

Outrage came while Met led by stopgap commission­er

‘Ms Dick has been doing lots of work, even though she’s not begun being paid. That shows how profession­al she is’

- By Martin Evans CRIME CORRESPOND­ENT

THE Westminste­r terror outrage came at a time when the Metropolit­an Police is without a permanent commission­er in charge.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, who led the force for five and a half years, retired last month. But, extraordin­arily, there is still no date for when his successor, Cressida Dick, will take over.

The Deputy Commission­er, Craig Mackey, has been in temporary charge of Scotland Yard in the interim. But he was unable to lead the terrorist investigat­ion in the initial stages because he was being treated as a “significan­t witness”, having seen the events unfold.

It is understood Mr Mackey had been in Westminste­r on official cial business when Khalid Masood launched his bloody rampage which left four innocent people, including one police officer, dead.

He had been just about to leave in his unmarked car when Masood sprinted through the gates, which had been opened to let the police chief ’s vehicle out. Mr Mackey was then swiftly taken by his s protection team to New Scotland Yard, which is now just yards away on the Embankment, having moved from its previous location last year.

Mr Mackey, who was the chief constable of Cumbria Police in 2010 when gunman Derrick Bird went on the rampage, was finally able to take full charge yesterday morning, once he had given a statement to his officers.

But there have been ques-- tions around the lengthy gap in permanent leadership between Sir Bernard’s retirement and Ms Dick taking up the reins as Britain’s top police officer. Ms Dick has been required to serve out her notice at her current post at the Foreign and Commonweal­th Office, where she has been working since her retirement from the Met in 2014. A source said she had been keen to begin but had responsibi­lities at the FCO. It is understood the notice period has been reduced. An announceme­nt about when she will take up her new post is expected in the coming days. Met sources insisted there was no concern about the apparent lack of leadership because Mr Mackey had the full confidence at Scotland Yard as acting commission­er. Asked about why Ms Dick had not taken up her new role, the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, said: “Like most people who are successful in their jobs, they have to give notice to their current employer. “She’s already been doing lots of work, even though she’s not begun being paid. That shows how profession­al she is.” A sourceso said Ms Dick had been at Scotland Yard after the attack and was being kept fully up to date with the investigat­ion. But LBC Radio’s Nick Ferrari toldto his listeners: “If you’re running a major business the size of this [and] you decided the chief executive is off or he decided or she decided, you would put the chief executive in the next afternoon, wouldn’t you? But not so the police, who are in charge of our security.”

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