Britain appoints first woman Scotland Yard chief in 188 years.

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Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, the new Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick and Home Secretary Amber Rudd address the press, outside New Scotland Yard on Victoria Embankment, in London. courtesy : AP

Cressida Rose Dick, CBE, QPM (born October 1960) is the new Metropolitan Police commissioner, becoming the first woman to take charge of London’s police force in its 188-year history.

Cressida Dick is the third and youngest child of Cecilia Dick (née Buxton), an Oxford historian, and Marcus William Dick, Senior Tutor at Balliol College,Oxford  and Professor of Philosophy at the University of East Anglia.

She succeeds Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, who announced his retirement last year.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said 56-year-old Dick “has a clear vision for the future of the Metropolitan Police and an understanding of the diverse range of communities it serves.”

Theresa May said Ms Dick had the “exceptional qualities” needed to lead the Met.

“Her skills and insights will be crucial in shaping the Met as the job of police reform continues, co-ordinating the national response to the ongoing threat of terrorism and serious criminality as well as keeping Londoners safe,” the prime minister continued.

“In addition, I know she will be a champion for the most vulnerable who the police are there to protect.”

The Metropolitan is Britain’s biggest and oldest police force, with more than 43,000 officers and staff.

She was chosen for the commissioner’s job ahead of National Police Chiefs’ Council chairwoman Sara Thornton, Essex Police chief constable Stephen Kavanagh and Scotland Yard’s Mark Rowley.

Her appointment means that for the first time all three top policing jobs in the UK are held by women: the Met commissioner, the head of the National Crime Agency and the president of the National Police Chief’s Council.

But she has drawn criticism for commanding an operation after the July 2005 London bombings in which an innocent Brazilian man, Jean Charles de Menezes, was shot dead by police after being mistaken for a suicide bomber.

A jury cleared Dick of blame, but relatives of de Menezes’ had called for her not to be given the top job at Scotland Yard.

In a statement issued by cousin Patricia Armani, the family said they had “serious concerns” about the appointment.

“The message of today’s appointment is that police officers can act with impunity,” they said.