A female police officer was appointed as the head of the Metropolitan police in the 188-year history of the department.

Cressida Dick is a former senior Scotland Yard officer who quit her 31-year police career in December 2014 to take up a position in the foreign office.

Dick, who was heading Metropolitan police’s counter terrorism department, has replaced Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe to take the top job.

Her appointment was met with criticism from Jean Charles de Menezes’ family. Menezes was mistaken for a terrorist and killed in an operation Dick was commanding, in 2005. The police department faced a criminal trial for health and safety violations, which it lost.

Dick’s appointment means five of the top posts in the criminal justice system in England and Wales are now held by women including director general of the National Crime Agency Lynne Owens and Alison Saunders at the Crown Prosecution Service, Rudd and Thornton.

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