Peter Clarke (police officer)

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Peter Clarke
Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons
Assumed office
February 2016
Preceded by Nick Hardwick
Deputy Assistant Commissioner, head of the Counter Terrorism Command
In office
June 2002 – 2008
Succeeded by John McDowall
Personal details
Born Peter John Michael Clarke
(1955-07-27) 27 July 1955 (age 61)
Children 3
Profession Police officer

Peter John Michael Clarke, CVO, OBE, QPM (born 27 July 1955) is a retired senior police officer with London's Metropolitan Police most notably having served as a Deputy Assistant Commissioner with the Specialist Operations directorate, commanding the Counter Terrorism Command.[1]

Early and personal life[edit]

Clarke was educated at the Glyn School, Epsom and holds a degree in law and an Honorary Doctorate in Law from the University of Bristol. He is married with three children. He lists cricket and rugby among his interests.[1]


Clarke joined the Metropolitan Police in 1977, progressing through the ranks to reach inspector in 1984, becoming a detective inspector in 1986 before joining the National Drugs Intelligence Unit in 1988. Subsequently promoted, Clarke became Operations Chief, Central London division in 1990 and staff officer to the Met commissioner in 1993 followed by three years as divisional commander, Brixton from 1994 to 1997.[1]

Clarke then spent a further 3 years as a Commander, heading the Protection Command between 1997 and 2000, a role which placed him in charge of Royalty protection at the time of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales,[2] followed by 2 years as deputy director of personnel from 2000 to 2002. In June 2002, Clarke became head of the Anti-terrorist Branch, later merged with Special Branch to form the Counter Terrorist Command, a role which put him in direct control of the investigation into the 7 July attacks on London and the failed bomb attempts of 21 July 2005.[1]

Clarke retired as Assistant Commissioner Specialist Operations in February 2008, having delayed his retirement at the request of the then Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, following the resignation of Andy Hayman.[3]

Later life[edit]

Clarke has been vocal in his retirement in campaigning for tougher legislation on terrorism. More controversially this has including extended detention before charge for terrorist suspects, giving examples of where it has sometimes proven necessary to make arrests at an early stage in inquiries to protect the public sufficiently.[3][4]

In April 2014, he was appointed to lead an investigation into Operation Trojan Horse, an alleged plot by Islamists to take over schools in Birmingham. Due to his background in counter-terrorism, Clarke's appointment was criticised by some, including local MP Khalid Mahmood.[5]

In February 2016 he was appointed HM Chief Inspector of Prisons in a written statement to Parliament by Michael Gove.[6]


On 6 March 2001, Clarke was appointed Commander of the Royal Victorian Order,[7] he was awarded the Queen's Police Medal in the 2003 Queen's Birthday Honours[8] and appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2006 New Year Honours for his work on July 2005 bombings.[9][10]


  1. ^ a b c d Campbell, Duncan; Cowan, Rosie (29 July 2005). "The Guardian profile: Peter Clarke". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 8 February 2010. 
  2. ^ "Tough task for chief with gentle touch". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. 3 July 2007. Retrieved 9 February 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Porter, Andrew (2 June 2008). "Terror law should allow 42 days' detention, says former police chief Peter Clarke". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 9 February 2010. 
  4. ^ Rayment, Sean (29 November 2008). "Britain unprepared for Mumbai-style attack". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 9 February 2010. 
  5. ^ "Trojan Horse probe headed by ex-Met chief Peter Clarke". BBC News. 15 April 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "no. 56145". The London Gazette. 13 March 2001. p. 3093. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  8. ^ "(Supplement) no. 56963". The London Gazette. 14 June 2003. p. 27. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  9. ^ "7 July workers honoured by Queen". BBC News. BBC. 31 December 2005. Retrieved 9 February 2010. 
  10. ^ "(Supplement) no. 57855". The London Gazette. 31 December 2005. p. 10. Retrieved 11 February 2010.