Cressida Dick left OHS in 1978 to study Agricultural and Forest Sciences at the University of Oxford. Since 2017, she has held the post of Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, the largest police force in the UK. As Commissioner, Cressida is thus the highest-ranking police officer in the UK, as well as the first woman to hold this rank.
On leaving Oxford, Cressida began her career with a brief foray in accountancy. Resolving that this wasn’t for her, Cressida joined the Met in 1983 as a constable and rose quickly through the ranks. From 1993, she was a tutor on the accelerated promotion course at Bramshill Police College before transferring, in 1995, to Thames Valley Police as a superintendent. She was operations superintendent at Oxford, and later, area commander in Oxford for three years.
In 2000, Cressida completed the strategic command course and, in 2001, she obtained her MPhil in Criminology from Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, attaining the highest grade in her year.
In June 2001, she returned to the Met as a commander, where she was head of the diversity directorate until 2003. She then went on to lead Operation Trident, which investigates gun crimes within London’s black community.
In the immediate aftermath of 21 July 2005 London bombings, she was the gold commander in the control room during the operation which led to the death of the Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes. Upon being exonerated of personal blame for this tragedy, Cressida was promoted in 2009 to the rank of Assistant Commissioner, the first woman substantively to hold this rank. In 2012, she was appointed Acting Deputy Commissioner and the following year was deemed to be one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by BBC Radio Four.
Cressida was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service in 2010 and was awarded Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2015 for services to policing.
In 2017, Cressida was named the GDST’s Alumna of the Year 2017. Visit our Alumnae pages to read more about the event and watch an interview with Cressida, in which she talks both about her time at the High School and how it equipped her with the resilience to succeed in such a challenging, male-dominated environment without sacrificing her trademark combination of good-sense, compassion and integrity.