United Kingdom

UK appoints 1st female Scotland Yard chief in 188 years

Cressida Dick, Deputy Assistant Commissioner, is seen in London.

Cressida Dick, Deputy Assistant Commissioner, is seen in London.  (AP)

Senior officer Cressida Dick was named the new commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police on Wednesday, the first woman to lead Scotland Yard in its 188-year history.

Dick, a former assistant commissioner of the force, succeeds Bernard Hogan-Howe, who is stepping down next week.

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

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."

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Dick led the security operation for the 2012 London Olympics and is highly regarded by many Scotland Yard peers.

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.