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New head of Met Police says her appointment is 'beyond my wildest dreams'

The new head of Scotland Yard has spoken of her delight after she became the first woman to hold the most senior job in British policing.

Cressida Dick said her appointment as the Metropolitan Police commissioner was "beyond my wildest dreams" after it was revealed she will succeed Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe in the role, returning to the force she left for a job at the Foreign Office two years ago.

Senior politicians insisted the 56-year-old was the best candidate for the job, and the choice was widely welcomed - but it also drew instant criticism.

Ms Dick came under intense scrutiny in 2005 when she was in charge of the operation that led to the fatal shooting of Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes, who was wrongly identified as a potential suicide bomber.

A jury later cleared Ms Dick of any blame in his death.

The family of Mr De Menezes said they had "serious concerns" about the appointment. They said in a statement: "We had to face a tragedy that no family should ever have to experience; the tragic death of a loved one at the hands of those we entrusted to serve us and protect us."

Ms Dick was widely seen as the frontrunner for the job after Sir Bernard's retirement was announced last year.

Following the announcement, the new Commissioner said she was "thrilled and humbled".

Speaking outside Scotland Yard, Ms Dick said she "could not be more pleased".

She said: "It is beyond my wildest dreams. An extraordinary privilege. I am very humbled.

"I adore London. I think it's the world's greatest global city. I love policing and I love the Met."

She beat off competition from three other senior figures - Mark Rowley, an assistant commissioner at the Met; Sara Thornton, the chair of the National Police Chiefs' Council; and Stephen Kavanagh, the chief constable of Essex Police.

All three top policing jobs in the UK are now held by women - the commissioner, head of the NPCC and National Crime Agency Director General Lynne Owens.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said Ms Dick is "absolutely the right choice" to lead the Met.

She said: "Cressida Dick is an exceptional leader, and has a clear vision for the future of the Metropolitan Police and an understanding of the diverse range of communities it serves.

"She now takes on one of the most demanding, high-profile and important jobs in UK policing, against the backdrop of a heightened terror alert and evolving threats from fraud and cyber crime."

Prime Minister Theresa May said Ms Dick has an "outstanding record of public service".

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who also had a hand in the recruitment process, hailed a "historic day for London".

He said: " Cressida Dick will be the first female commissioner of the Met in its 187-year history, and the most powerful police officer in the land.

"She has already had a long and distinguished career, and her experience and ability has shone throughout this process."

Before leaving the service in January 2015, Ms Dick had a 31-year career in policing which saw her become the most senior female officer in the country in 2009.

She rose through the ranks after joining the Met in 1983, working as the national lead for counter-terrorism and playing a leading role in the security operation around the 2012 Olympics.

Six applicants applied for the £270,000-a-year post, with four shortlisted and invited for final interviews before the appointment was made by the Queen following a recommendation from Ms Rudd.

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