Bob Quick (police officer)

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Robert "Bob" Quick, QPM MBA (born c. 1959) is a former Assistant Commissioner (Specialist Operations) of London's Metropolitan Police New Scotland Yard. The role is a key national security post with responsibility for counter-terrorism within the United Kingdom,[1] protection of the Queen and senior members of the British Royal Family, protection of the UK Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers. He also oversaw the protection of visiting Heads of State to the UK and the diplomatic community in London.

Police career[edit]

Quick joined the police service in 1978 at the age of 18, first serving in Lambeth. From 1978 – 1991, he served in a range of positions in both uniform and CID in South London, dealing with armed robbery, drug trafficking, murder and other serious offences.[2]

In 2000 he was appointed head of the Metropolitan Police CIB and Anti-Corruption Command overseeing corruption investigations and public complaints. In November 2001 he led "Operation Safer Streets" in London against robbery and armed crime which resulted in large falls in these crime categories. In December 2002, he took charge of a police operation in east London to deal with a gunman who had taken a hostage at a flat in Hackney. For this operation he was widely praised for the restraint shown, in what was at the time London's longest armed siege.[3] He was awarded the Queen's Police Medal in the 2002 New Year's Honours for distinguished service.[4]

He later became Chief Constable of Surrey and during his tenure (2004–2008) Surrey Police was rated as one of the best performing forces in England and Wales.[5][6] In 2008 he was succeeded by Mark Rowley as Chief Constable.[7] Quick then returned to London to become an assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service.

He is currently the CEO of BGS Ltd.[8]


In October 2008 Quick received a complaint from senior officials at the Government Cabinet Office regarding a series of leaks of official documents from the Home Office, which found their way into some national newspapers. Some of the documents were classified as "secret". An ensuing investigation led to the arrest of a senior civil servant who implicated two prominent opposition MP's. After consultations with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) one of these MP's, Damian Green, was arrested for aiding or abetting misconduct in public office and the police searched the MP's home and both his parliamentary office which caused a political furore.[9] Opposition mP's claimed the police were acting under the orders of, or with knowledge of, the then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith. Evidence was later taken by Parliament, which proved these claims to be unfounded (Hansard). MP's also claimed the search of the MP's Parliamentary office was unlawful as no search warrant had been obtained. A subsequent Parliamentary inquiry concluded the police had in fact "followed the correct procedures" their being a requirement on the police to seek consent of the Parliamentary Authorities for the search (which was given) before restoring to applying for a search warrant.[10]

The controversy continued whilst an investigation into the leaks continued. The MP' claimed "Parliamentary Privilege" over the material seized by police, which prevented the material being examined for several weeks.[11] During the investigation a series of press articles were published criticising the arrest of Green. Articles also appeared with detailed aspects of Quick's family life and his wife's business. In response Quick made public comments suggesting Tory politician's and the Press were corruptly seeking to undermine the investigation. He later withdrew his comments and apologised however an article appeared in the Guardian newspaper in which unnamed senior Tory politician suggested Quick was in the sights of the Tory Party in saying "We're going to get Quick".[12]

On 8 April 2009, when Quick arrived at a briefing at 10 Downing Street he inadvertently exposed a document marked Secret[13] dealing with "Operation Pathway" to photographers[14] which compromised the counter-terrorist operation which the document concerned, forcing police in the North West of England to strike sooner than planned, making twelve arrests within hours.[15] He resigned the following day and was replaced by John Yates.[16]

Reacting to his resignation, Sir Ken Jones, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said he had "shouldered his immense responsibilities as head of counter terrorism without shirking", with the Home Secretary and The Prime Minister thanking him for his contributions.[17] London Mayor Boris Johnson said he had accepted Assistant Commissioner Quick's resignation with "great reluctance and sadness".[18]

Within days of Quick's resignation, a decision was taken by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Kier Starmer QC not to prosecute Green or the senior civil servant involved, Christopher Galley.[19] The commentary on the decision highlighted that:

For the reasons set out above, I have concluded that there is no realistic prospect of a conviction against either Mr Galley or Mr Green for the offences alleged against them. Accordingly, I have decided that charges should not be brought against either Mr Galley or Mr Green for those alleged offences. My conclusion should not be misunderstood. The unauthorised leaking of restricted and/or confidential information is not beyond the reach of the criminal law. The fact that the overall evidence of damage or potential damage in this case is not such that the offence of misconduct in public office is made out should not be taken to mean that the absence of sufficient damage actual or potential will always lead to a decision not to prosecute. Where the threshold identified in the case of AG's Reference No.3 of 2003 is met, a criminal prosecution would be justified. Each case will have to be carefully considered on its facts. My conclusion is simply that, on the particular facts of this case, there is no realistic prospect of a conviction against either Mr Galley or Mr Green. In coming to a conclusion in this case, it has not been necessary for me to resolve the question of the legality of the searches of Mr Galley's home address and Mr Green's home address, his Constituency offices and at his Parliamentary office. I do not propose to do so. However, as noted above, once the pattern of leaks was established in this case it was inevitable that a police investigation would follow. There has been a thorough investigation and, without it, I would not have been able to reach a conclusion on the particular facts of this case'

— Keir Starmer QC

Later in 2012, Quick testified under oath at the Leveson Public Inquiry into 'the culture, practices and ethics of the press, including contacts between the press and police' that a series of misleading articles about the case appeared in the press during the investigation quoting 'senior police sources' and that he had come under pressure at the outset to drop the investigation before the evidence has been examined. He stated that he had resisted this on the basis he had duty in law to fully investigate the Cabinet Office allegations that the leaks constituted criminal offences on the basis of CPS advice.[20]


  1. ^ "Biography page for Bob Quick". Metropolitan Police Service. Archived from the original on 2 January 2009. Retrieved 9 April 2009. 
  2. ^ "Witness Statement of Bob Quick" (PDF). 
  3. ^ "Profile: Bob Quick". BBC News. 9 April 2009. Retrieved 9 April 2009. 
  4. ^ "Queen's Police Medal & Queen's Fire Service Medal | The Times". The Times. Retrieved 14 June 2016. 
  5. ^ Administrator, getsurrey (10 October 2007). "Police inspection puts Surrey in top spot". getsurrey. Retrieved 14 June 2016. 
  6. ^ Administrator, getsurrey (15 October 2007). "Police hailed as 'one of the best' forces in the country". getsurrey. Retrieved 14 June 2016. 
  7. ^ Police Oracle website
  8. ^ "– Intelligent Security Solutions". BGS. Retrieved 14 June 2016. 
  9. ^ Meikle, James (28 April 2010). "Former police chief defends decision to arrest Tory frontbencher Damian Green over leak". the Guardian. Retrieved 14 June 2016. 
  10. ^ "Decision on prosecution – Mr Christopher Galley and Mr Damian Green MP". Retrieved 14 June 2016. 
  11. ^ Sparrow, Andrew (1 December 2008). "Damian Green row: What is parliamentary privilege?". the Guardian. Retrieved 14 June 2016. 
  12. ^ Meikle, James (28 April 2010). "Former police chief defends decision to arrest Tory frontbencher Damian Green over leak". the Guardian. Retrieved 14 June 2016. 
  13. ^ Vikram Dodd; David Batty (9 April 2009). "Police chief Bob Quick steps down over terror blunder". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 April 2009. 
  14. ^ "Zoomed photograph of document". The Guardian. 9 April 2009. Retrieved 11 April 2009. 
  15. ^ "Terror raids follow files blunder". BBC News. 8 April 2009. Retrieved 8 April 2009. 
  16. ^ "Police chief quits over blunder". BBC News. 9 April 2009. Retrieved 9 April 2009. 
  17. ^ "Profile: Bob Quick". BBC. 9 April 2009. Retrieved 14 June 2016. 
  18. ^ "Bob Quick has resigned". 
  19. ^ "Decision on prosecution – Mr Christopher Galley and Mr Damian Green MP". The Crown Prosecution Service. 
  20. ^ "The Leveson Inquiry into The Culture Practices And Ethics of the Press – Statement of Robert Quick" (PDF). The National Archives. 

External links[edit]

Police appointments
Preceded by
Denis O'Connor
Chief Constable of Surrey Police
Succeeded by
Mark Rowley
Preceded by
Andy Hayman
Metropolitan Police Service
Assistant Commissioner (Specialist Operations)

Succeeded by
John Yates