Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
Met Commissioner Eppaulette.svg
Have Your Say (5201822338) (cropped).jpg
Sir Mark Rowley
since 12 September 2022
Reports toHome Secretary
on advice of the Home Secretary
Term lengthFixed term (maximum of 5 years, extendable)[1]
DeputyDeputy Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
Salary£292,938 per annum[2]

The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis is the head of London's Metropolitan Police Service. Sir Mark Rowley was appointed to the post on 8 July 2022[3] after Dame Cressida Dick announced her resignation in February 2022.[4][5]

The rank of Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police is regarded as the highest in British policing. Although their authority is generally confined to the Metropolitan Police Service's area of operation, the Metropolitan Police District, the Metropolitan Police also has certain national responsibilities such as leading counter-terrorism policing and the protection of the royal family and senior members of the government.

Furthermore, the commissioner is directly accountable to the Home Secretary, the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime, and the Mayor of London, and must answer to Londoners and the public nationally.[6] By contrast, all other UK forces (except the City of London Police) are headed by a chief constable, accountable only to residents, the local police and crime commissioner, police authority or an elected mayor.


The post of commissioner was created by the Metropolitan Police Act 1829. For the force's first ten years, commissioners were known as "justices of the peace of the counties of Middlesex, Surrey, Hertford, Essex, and Kent, and of all the liberties therein".[a] Section 4 of the Metropolitan Police Act 1839 first gave the post the title of Commissioner, and it was held jointly by two officers until the Metropolitan Police Act 1856 merged these into a single post. The Commissioners were not appointed as sworn constables until the Administration of Justice Act 1973[b] amended the phrase on justices of the peace in Section 1 of the 1829 Act to "a Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis to execute the duties of chief officer of the [Metropolitan Police]".

The insignia of rank is a crown above a Bath Star, known as a "pip", above crossed tipstaves within a wreath. This badge is all but unique within the British police, shared only with the Commissioner of the City of London Police, the smallest territorial police force, and HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary. Like all chief officer ranks in the British police, commissioners wear gorget patches on the collars of their tunics. The gorget patches are similar to those worn by generals, aside from being of silver-on-black instead of the Army's gold-on-red.[citation needed]

At one time, the commissioners were either retired military officers or civil servants. Sir John Nott-Bower, who served as commissioner from 1953 to 1958, was the first career police officer to hold the post, despite several previous commissioners having served in senior administrative positions in colonial forces and the Metropolitan Police itself. Nott-Bower's successor Sir Joseph Simpson was the first commissioner to have started his career at the lowest rank of constable. However, Sir Robert Mark, appointed in 1972, was the first to have risen through all the ranks from the lowest to the highest, as all his successors have done.[citation needed]

As of 2008, the post of commissioner is appointed for a period of five years.[7] Applicants are appointed to the post by the monarch, following a recommendation by the Home Secretary under the Police Act 1996.[7]

Eligibility and accountability[edit]

The post of commissioner is "accountable to the Home Secretary; to the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime, and must answer to Londoners and the public nationally."[7] In 2008 and 2011, applicants to the post of commissioner had to be British citizens (in 2008 this was explicitly stated to be because of the role of the commissioner in national security), and be "serving UK chief constables or of equivalent UK ranks and above, or have recent experience at these levels".[7][8] In contrast, applicants in 2018 were told that the post of commissioner was "non reserved"[9] (seemingly a reference to the Aliens’ Employment Act 1955 (as amended)[10]) and that there were no specific restrictions on nationality.[9]

The requirement to be a British national blocked the appointment of non-British commissioners in the past, such as in August 2011, when Prime Minister David Cameron wanted former Los Angeles Police Department Chief Bill Bratton to become the new commissioner.[11] However, in 2014 section 42[12] of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 was amended by section 140[13] of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, whereby a person who is or has been "a constable in any part of the United Kingdom" or "a police officer in an approved overseas police force, of at least the approved rank" could be appointed.[14][15] Determinations made in 2018 under Regulation 11[16] of the Police Regulations 2003[17] restrict the constables eligible for appointment to those who are serving, or have served, in the ranks of assistant chief constable, commander, or a more senior rank in a police force in any part of the United Kingdom.[18] The Appointment of Chief Officers of Police (Overseas Police Forces) Regulations 2014 approve certain Australian, Canadian, New Zealand and US police forces and ranks.[19]

The selection process in 2017, to select Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe's successor, involved the candidates undergoing psychometric testing in addition to interviews with the Home Secretary, Mayor of London and Policing Minister. The process is conducted in private and the Home Office has specifically called for a "news blackout".[20] The discussion and public profile of the candidates was limited to speculation and rumour, with the Home Office refusing to even confirm the shortlisted candidates covered in the media.[21]

The Centre for Public Safety has recommended the selection process be reformed, to provide opportunities for greater public, community and workforce engagement in the process. In particular, suggesting a series of community interview panels and a public candidate forum – though they maintain that the final decision should still rest with the Home Secretary.[22]

List of commissioners[edit]

# From To Military rank
(if applicable)
Name Notes
1 1829 1850 Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Charles Rowan First Joint Commissioner
2 1829 1868 Sir Richard Mayne Second Joint Commissioner (1829–1850) then First Joint Commissioner (1850–1855) and finally Commissioner (1855-1868)
3 1850 1855 Captain William Hay Second Joint Commissioner
4 1868 1869 Lieutenant-Colonel Douglas Labalmondière Acting
5 1869 1886 Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Edmund Henderson
6 1886 1888 Major-General Sir Charles Warren Later returned to military duties
7 1888 1890 James Monro Senior civil servant before becoming Assistant Commissioner (Crime) and then Commissioner
8 1890 1903 Colonel Sir Edward Bradford
9 1903 1918 Sir Edward Henry Senior civil servant before being appointed Inspector-General of Police of Bengal. Later served in other senior police appointments before becoming Commissioner.
10 1918 1920 General Sir Nevil Macready
11 1920 1928 Brigadier-General Sir William Horwood
12 1928 1931 General The Viscount Byng of Vimy
13 1931 1935 Marshal of the Royal Air Force The Lord Trenchard See Hugh Trenchard as Metropolitan Police Commissioner for details.
14 1935 1945 Air Vice-Marshal Sir Philip Game
15 1945 1953 Sir Harold Scott Previously a senior civil servant. First Commissioner without any police or military background since Sir Richard Mayne.
16 1953 1958 Sir John Nott-Bower Nott-Bower had previously served in the Indian police, rising to the rank of superintendent.
17 1958 1968 Sir Joseph Simpson Graduated from the Hendon Police College, as an acting station inspector after having joined as a constable. Formerly chief constable of Surrey Constabulary 1946-1956
18 1968 1972 Sir John Waldron Graduated from the Hendon Police College. Formerly chief constable of Berkshire Constabulary 1954-1958
19 1972 1977 Sir Robert Mark First Metropolitan Commissioner to have risen through all the police ranks from the lowest to the highest, as all subsequent Commissioners have done. Formerly chief constable of Leicester City Police 1957-1967
20 1977 1982 Sir David McNee Formerly chief constable of Glasgow City Police 1971-1975; Strathclyde Police 1975-1977
21 1982 1987 Sir Kenneth Newman Formerly chief constable of Royal Ulster Constabulary 1976-1980
22 1987 1993 Sir Peter Imbert Formerly chief constable of Thames Valley Police 1979-1985
23 1993 2000 Sir Paul Condon Formerly chief constable of Kent Police 1989-1993
24 2000 2005 Sir John Stevens Formerly chief constable of Northumbria Police 1991-1996
25 2005 2008 Sir Ian Blair Formerly chief constable of Surrey Police from 1998-2000
26 2009 2011 Sir Paul Stephenson Acting since 2008. Formerly chief constable of Lancashire Constabulary from 2002-2005
27 2011 2017 Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe Formerly chief constable of Merseyside Police from 2004–2009.
28 2017 2022 Dame Cressida Dick First woman and openly LGBT person to be appointed Commissioner. Assumed office on 10 April 2017.
29 2022 2022 Sir Stephen House Acting
30 2022 Sir Mark Rowley Formerly chief constable of Surrey Police from 2009-2011. Assumed office 12 September 2022.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Section 1, 1829 Act
  2. ^ Section 1(9)(a) as in para 10, Schedule 1 to the Act), which came into force 1 April 1974 by section 20 (commencement)


  1. ^ "The Police Regulations 2003".
  2. ^ "Met Police: Job advert for new commissioner published". BBC News. 13 April 2022.
  3. ^ "Met Police commissioner: Sir Mark Rowley named as force's new leader". BBC News. 8 July 2022.
  4. ^ Kara Fox (10 February 2022). "London Metropolitan Police chief resigns". CNN. Retrieved 10 February 2022.
  5. ^ Bowden, George (10 February 2022). "Cressida Dick to step down as Metropolitan Police chief". BBC News. Retrieved 10 February 2022.
  6. ^ Metropolitan Police Authority - the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis Archived 14 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ a b c d "COMMISSIONER OF POLICE OF THE METROPOLIS Applications are invited from senior police officers for this unique post". Home Office / Metropolitan Police Authority. 7 November 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 January 2009. Retrieved 15 December 2008. The Commissioner is accountable to the Home Secretary; to the MPA, chaired by the Mayor of London; and must answer to Londoners and the public nationally...Applicants should be serving UK chief constables or of equivalent UK ranks and above, or have recent experience at these levels. Because of the role of the Commissioner in national security, applicants must be British citizens. The appointment will be made by Her Majesty The Queen following a recommendation by the Home Secretary under the Police Act 1996. Before making this recommendation the Home Secretary will have regard to any recommendations made to her by the MPA and any representations from the Mayor of London...The appointment will be for a period of five years...Applications to be received by 12 noon on 1st December 2008.
  8. ^ "MPA: Careers: Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis". Archived from the original on 14 August 2011. Retrieved 22 February 2022.
  9. ^ a b[bare URL PDF]
  10. ^ "Aliens' Employment Act 1955".
  11. ^ Whitehead, Tom (5 August 2011). "David Cameron's US 'supercop' blocked by Theresa May". Daily Telegraph. London.
  12. ^ "Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011".
  13. ^ "Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014".
  14. ^ "Selection and appointment of Chief Officers". UK Home Office. 9 March 2018. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  15. ^ "Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011". Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  16. ^ "The Police Regulations 2003".
  17. ^ "The Police Regulations 2003".
  18. ^ "Selection and appointment of Chief Officers". GOV.UK.
  19. ^ "The Appointment of Chief Officers of Police (Overseas Police Forces) Regulations 2014".
  20. ^ Police, Vikram Dodd; correspondent, crime (2 February 2017). "Two women among final four for Metropolitan police top job". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  21. ^ "Two women among four shortlisted in race for top Met job". Evening Standard. 2 February 2017. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  22. ^ "The Next Commissioner: Giving Londoners a voice in the selection of their police chief – The Centre for Public Safety". Retrieved 15 February 2017.

External links[edit]