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London Police Boss Defends Deputy Who Hid in Car During Westminster Attack, Says He Led Response ‘With Distinction’

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DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has defended her deputy after he was roundly condemned for staying in his car with the doors locked during the Westminster terror attack.

Sir Craig Mackey, who was Acting Commissioner at the time of Khalid Masood’s attack outside the Palace of Westminster, told an inquest he was at the scene when the jihadist struck, but remained in his car with the doors locked and watched as he fatally stabbed unarmed PC Keith Palmer, as he had “no protective equipment, no radio, [and] two colleagues with me who [were] quite distressed”.

He briefly opened the car door after a plainclothes police protection officer who happened to be nearby neutralised Masood, but closed it again and “moved out” to “start putting everything we need in place” back at headquarters.

Sir Craig’s conduct has been roundly condemned by Police Federation representatives, retired officers, and serving officers who commentate anonymously on social media, with many suggesting he be stripped of his knighthood and police medal or even prosecuted for neglect of duty.

Commissioner Dick, however, has offered strong support to her Deputy — due to retire with a substantial index-linked pension in a matter of weeks — claiming he “had absolutely no opportunity to stop the killer or save PC Palmer. Anyone who suggests otherwise is simply wrong.”

“The actions he was able to and did take were to protect the unarmed police staff colleagues who were in the car with him,” she added– the actions in question being to being to stay put in his vehicle.

“He went on to lead the Met’s response to the attack with distinction,” she added.

Sir Craig has also been backed by Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu — but a perception that senior officers are “circling the wagons” around their embattled colleague is not being received well by rank-and-file officers.

“A credible police leader would charge the enemy, risking their own life if necessary, when their Constables are being killed in front of them,” tweeted ‘Inspector Gadget’, a popular police blogger and author of Perverting the Course of Justice.

“Mr Basu fails to acknowledge [that] the highest ranking police officer at the time drove away whilst one of his men lay dying behind him,” chimed in another pseudonymous officer.

“An MP with no protective equipment tried to save PC Keith Palmer but [Sir Craig] couldn’t even stop to check on him. Unacceptable.”

“Forget risk assessing an incident, forget weighing up options. It’s past that point. A police officer is under attack and you’re witnessing it. GO AND F**CKING GET INVOLVED. A colleague, a brother needs help and needs it now,” added a third.

“As senior officers are so keen on implying in the media it was one of YOUR officers who needed help, then and there. And YOU drove away. There is nothing. Nothing. Anyone can ever say that changes my mind on this. Craig Mackey is a coward and not fit to be a police officer.”

Commissioner Dick has been no stranger to harsh criticism since she took up her position as London’s top cop under the mayoralty of controversial Labour politican Sadiq Khan herself.

She has been subject to several public backlashes, for — among other things — having officers investigate whether Boris Johnson saying women in burqas resembled letter boxes was a crime, her “mealy-mouthed” refusal to accept that jihadist terrorists are “Islam-inspired”, and for her bizarre claim that child grooming and rape gangs have existed in Britain “probably for centuries and centuries and centuries”.

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