Sunday, 28 November 2021

Next Metropolitan Police Commissioner about to be named


LONDON: Britain’s next top police officer could be revealed on Wednesday following interviews with senior politicians. Those vying to be named the new Metropolitan Police Commissioner will speak to Home Secretary Amber Rudd, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Policing Minister Brandon Lewis. An announcement on the appointment will be made after the meetings. Four senior figures are widely seen as being in the running to succeed Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe as head of Scotland Yard: Cressida Dick, Sara Thornton, Mark Rowley and Stephen Kavanagh. If the job is given to Ms Dick or Ms Thornton, it will mean the Met has its first female commissioner. Now a director-general at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Ms Dick was previously the country’s most senior female police officer before she left the Met after 31 years in December 2014. The national lead for police counter-terrorism for three years, including during the Olympics, Ms Dick oversaw many of Scotland Yard’s most sensitive investigations, including into phone hacking and parliamentary expenses. She came under intense scrutiny 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 cleared Ms Dick of any blame in his death. Chairwoman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Ms Thornton is another potential contender. Before taking on the role in April 2015, she was chief constable of Thames Valley Police for nearly eight years. Ms Thornton served with the Met for 15 years from 1986. Mr Kavanagh, now the chief constable of Essex Police, had a long and varied career at Scotland Yard including working in homicide, counter-terrorism and anti-corruption. Mr Rowley, an assistant commissioner at the Met, has come to prominence in his role as national lead for counter-terrorism. He was previously chief constable of Surrey Police. The appointment is for a fixed term of five years, with the possibility of an initial extension of up to three years which can then be followed by unlimited one-year extensions. The successful candidate will earn a salary of £270,648, plus benefits. The appointment will be made by the Queen following a recommendation from Ms Rudd. Before settling on her choice, she must “have regard” to any recommendation from the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, which is headed by Mr Sadiq Khan. Sir Bernard has delivered a number of stark warnings in the final weeks of his tenure. In January he said the “warning lights are flashing” after figures laid bare the scale of fraud and cyber crime and showed a jump in violent offences recorded by forces. He also warned his successor will have to run the Met with fewer officers as the service braces for further budget squeezes.

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