The most senior police officer in the UK has received an honorary degree from Cranfield University in recognition of her outstanding contribution to defence and security.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick CBE was at The Defence Academy of the United Kingdom in Shrivenham today to accept her accolade.

She said: “I am delighted and honoured to receive this honorary degree from Cranfield University. Policing has always been an immense beneficiary from developments in science and technology, blending the best of private industry and the public sector – principles exemplified by Cranfield. I am determined to further this outward-looking approach and look forward to being part of the Cranfield University community.”

Professor Sir Peter Gregson, Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University, said: “Cressida is an example to us all. Hers is a demanding role that requires her to handle the aftermath of terrorist attacks and the grandeur of state occasions with equal calm assurance. She is an exceptional leader, whose stewardship of the Met Police is hugely respected across the UK and beyond these shores, and I am delighted that she joins us this year as one of our honorary graduates.”

In April 2017, Cressida Dick became the first woman to be appointed Commissioner of the Met Police in its 188-year history. Prior to that, she had also been the first woman to be appointed to the Assistant Commissioner role in 2009.

However, her career in policing has not always been straightforward. After graduating from Balliol College, Oxford, with a degree in Agriculture and Forest Science, her first application to join Thames Valley Police was rejected and she began training as an accountant.

After deciding that accountancy was not for her, she applied to the police again and successfully joined the Met in 1983 as a constable, patrolling the streets of Soho.

Cressida undertook a trainer role on the accelerated promotion course at Bramshill Police College in 1993, after which she left the Met and joined Thames Valley Police as a Superintendent, overseeing policing in her home city of Oxford over the subsequent five years before eventually returning to the Met as Commander in 2001.

That same year, Cressida completed a Master’s in Criminology at Cambridge University. In 2010, she was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for distinguished service and, in 2015, added a CBE for services to policing.

During her career, Cressida has overseen a wide variety of high-profile and complex policing investigations spanning serious and organised crime, security and protection. From 2011 to 2014, she was in charge of UK counter terrorism policing, leading operational security and counter terrorist operations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympics.

In 2014, she retired from the Met after 30 years’ service to join the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s senior leadership team, before returning to take on the Commissioner role in 2017.

Cressida Dick with Cranfield representatives
Dr Matt Chinn, Baroness Barbara Young of Old Scone, Cressida Dick CBE, Dame Deirdre Hutton, Professor Sir Peter Gregson (L-R)

About Cranfield University

Cranfield is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.