Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
|Commissioner of Police|
of the Metropolis
|Reports to||The Home Secretary|
on advice of the Home Secretary
|Term length||At Her Majesty's pleasure|
|Deputy||Deputy Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis|
|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
The Commissioner is regarded as the highest ranking police officer in the United Kingdom, although their authority is generally confined to the Metropolitan Police Service's area of operation, the Metropolitan Police District. However, unlike other police forces the Metropolitan Police has certain national responsibilities such as leading counter-terrorism policing and the protection of the Royal Family and senior members of Her Majesty's Government. Furthermore, the postholder is directly accountable to the Home Secretary and the public nationally amongst many others (the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime, the Mayor of London, Londoners) whereas smaller police forces are only accountable to residents and their local Police and Crime Commissioner or police authority.
The rank is usually referred to as the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, the Met Commissioner or simply just "Commissioner".
The Commissioner's annual compensation without pension contributions or allowances from 1 September 2016 is £270,648 + £2,373.
The rank of Commissioner was created by the Metropolitan Police Act 1829; until 1855, the post was held jointly by two officers, but after the Metropolitan Police Act 1856 it was merged into a single post. The Commissioners were Justices of the Peace and not sworn constables until 1 April 1974. The title Commissioner was not used until 1839.
The insignia of rank is a crown above a Bath Star, known as "pips", above crossed tipstaves within a wreath, very similar to the insignia worn by a full general in the British Army. 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.
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 as 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.
As of 2008[update], the post of Commissioner is appointed for a period of five years. Applicants are appointed to the post by the Queen, following a recommendation by the Home Secretary under the Police Act 1996.
Eligibility and accountability
Applicants to the post of Commissioner had to be British citizens, and be "serving UK chief constables or of equivalent UK ranks and above, or have recent experience at these levels". 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."
The requirement to be a British national blocked the appointment of non-British Commissioners in the past. In August 2011, Prime Minister David Cameron wanted former Los Angeles Police Department Chief Bill Bratton to become the new Met Police Commissioner, but this was blocked by the Home Office pointing out that the Commissioner has to be British. This changed with an amendment to the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 whereby a person who is or has been "a police officer in an approved overseas police force, of at least the approved rank" could be appointed, in addition to "a constable in any part of the United Kingdom".
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." 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.
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.
List of Commissioners
|1829||1850||Lieutenant-Colonel||Sir Charles Rowan||KCB||First Joint Commissioner|
|1829||1868||Sir Richard Mayne||KCB||Second Joint Commissioner (1829–1850) then First Joint Commissioner (1850–1855) and finally Commissioner (1855-1868)|
|1850||1855||Captain||William Hay||CB||Second Joint Commissioner|
|1869||1886||Lieutenant-Colonel||Sir Edmund Henderson||KCB|
|1886||1888||Major-General||Sir Charles Warren||GCMG, KCB||Later returned to military duties|
|1888||1890||James Monro||CB||Senior civil servant before becoming Assistant Commissioner (Crime) and then Commissioner|
|1890||1903||Colonel||Sir Edward Bradford||Bt. GCB, GCVO, KCSI|
|1903||1918||Sir Edward Henry||Bt. GCVO, KCB, CSI, KPM||Senior civil servant before being appointed Inspector-General of Police of Bengal. Later served in other senior police appointments before becoming Commissioner.|
|1918||1920||General||Sir Nevil Macready||GCMG, KCB|
|1920||1928||Brigadier-General||Sir William Horwood||GBE, KCB, DSO|
|1928||1931||General||The Viscount Byng of Vimy||KCB, KCMG|
|1931||1935||Marshal of the Royal Air Force||The Lord Trenchard||GCB, GCVO, DSO||See Hugh Trenchard as Metropolitan Police Commissioner for details.|
|1935||1945||Air Vice-Marshal||Sir Philip Game||GCB, GCVO, GBE, KCMG, DSO|
|1945||1953||Sir Harold Scott||GCVO, KCB, KBE||Previously a senior civil servant. First Commissioner without any police or military background since Sir Richard Mayne.|
|1953||1958||Sir John Nott-Bower||KCVO, KPM||After Army service as a Second Lieutenant, Nott-Bower entered the Indian police as a superintendent.|
|1958||1968||Sir Joseph Simpson||KBE, KPFSM||Graduated from the Hendon Police College, as an acting station inspector after having joined as a constable.|
|1968||1972||Sir John Waldron||KCVO||Graduated from the Hendon Police College.|
|1972||1977||Sir Robert Mark||GBE, QPM||First Metropolitan Commissioner to have risen through all the police ranks from the lowest to the highest|
|1977||1982||Sir David McNee||QPM|
|1982||1987||Sir Kenneth Newman||GBE, QPM|
|1987||1993||Sir Peter Imbert||QPM|
|1993||2000||Sir Paul Condon||QPM|
|2000||2005||Sir John Stevens||QPM|
|2005||2008||Sir Ian Blair||QPM|
|2009||2011||Sir Paul Stephenson||QPM||Introduced Single Patrol policy where officers were required to patrol on their own by default|
|2011||2017||Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe||QPM||Formerly Chief Constable of Merseyside Police from 2004–2009.|
|2017||Dame Cressida Dick||DBE, QPM||First woman to be appointed Commissioner. Assumed office on 10 April 2017.|
- "Cressida Dick appointed as first female Met Police chief". BBC News. 22 February 2017. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
- Metropolitan Police Authority - the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis Archived 14 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine
- section 1(9)(a) of the Administration of Justice Act 1973 (as in para 10, Schedule 1 to the Act), which came into force 1 April 1974 by section 20 (commencement).
- "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.
- Whitehead, Tom (5 August 2011). "David Cameron's US 'supercop' blocked by Theresa May". Daily Telegraph. London.
- "Selection and appointment of Chief Officers". UK Home Office. 9 March 2018. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
- "Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011". Legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
- 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.
- "Two women among four shortlisted in race for top Met job". Evening Standard. 2 February 2017. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
- "The Next Commissioner: Giving Londoners a voice in the selection of their police chief – The Centre for Public Safety". www.centreforpublicsafety.com. Retrieved 15 February 2017.