Britain's top female police officer is to leave the Metropolitan police to join the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Cressida Dick, 54, will leave service in January after more than 30 years in the Met.

"I have loved my time as a police officer in London. It has been a wonderful privilege to work in such an extraordinary organisation and with such fabulous people." Dick said, the BBC reported.

Dick was made assistant commissioner in 2009, becoming the first woman to hold such a position.

She came to prominence in 2005 because she headed the operation that led to the deadly shooting by armed officers of Jean Charles de Menezes, a Brazilian man who was wrongly identified as a suicide bomber.

Earlier she held leading roles in the Met's response to 9/11, the 7/7 bombings.

In 2011 she was appointed assistant commissioner in charge of counter-terrorism, a post she left this summer for the specialist crime and operations department.

Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe described her as a "role model for women across the service".

"We wish her well for the future," he told the BBC.

Dick will leave the Met for her new role on 19 January next year.