Peter Imbert, Baron Imbert

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Imbert
Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police
In office
1 January 1987 – 31 December 1992
Preceded by Sir Kenneth Newman
Succeeded by Sir Paul Condon
Personal details
Born Peter Michael Imbert
(1933-04-27) 27 April 1933 (age 83)
Profession Police officer

Peter Michael Imbert, Baron Imbert, CVO, QPM, DL (born 27 April 1933) was Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service from 1987 to 1993, and prior to that appointment Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police from 1979 to 1985.

He was the Lord Lieutenant of Greater London until 2008. He was made a Life peer as Baron Imbert, of New Romney in the County of Kent in 1999, sitting as a crossbencher.

Early life[edit]

Born in Kent, Imbert was educated at the Harvey Grammar School in Folkestone, spent his National Service in the Royal Air Force Police and worked for a short time with Kent County Council, before joining the Metropolitan Police in 1953 at Bow Street Police Station.

Metropolitan Police[edit]

In 1956, Imbert joined Special Branch, learning shorthand and Russian during his 17 years with the unit. In 1973, he was made deputy head of the Anti-Terrorist Branch, where he became an expert on European terrorist groups such as Baader-Meinhof, and gave lectures on hostage negotiation and counter-terrorism tactics.

Balcombe Street Siege[edit]

On 6 December 1975, four members of the Provisional IRA barricaded themselves in a flat in Balcombe Street, Marylebone with two hostages. The men had been responsible for a wave of bombings in London, but had been intercepted by armed police while attacking a restaurant.

Imbert was the chief negotiator over the six days of the Balcombe Street Siege, and when the situation ended peacefully with no lives lost and the terrorists under arrest, Imbert was noted as a possible high-flyer in the police force.[1]

Guildford Four case[edit]

Peter Imbert played a major role in interrogating the Guildford Four and in capturing the real I.R.A. bombers.[2]

County forces[edit]

In 1976, Imbert left the Met and became Assistant Chief Constable, and later Deputy Chief Constable of Surrey Constabulary. In 1979, he became Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police, the youngest Chief Constable in the country at that time.

During his time at Thames Valley, Imbert allowed the BBC to make Police, a 1982 fly-on-the-wall documentary series about the police at work. The opposite of a public relations exercise, Thames Valley and the police in general came under sustained criticism when an episode of the programme showed three detectives interrogating and dismissing a rape victim. Shocked at the attitude and behaviour of his officers, and the public reaction, Imbert instigated improvements to the handling of rape cases to Thames Valley which were adopted throughout the country.[3]

Return to London[edit]

Imbert returned to London in 1985 as Deputy Commissioner, becoming Commissioner in 1987.

Building on the reforms to the Met implemented by his predecessor, Sir Kenneth Newman, Imbert began his own set of reforms called the PLUS program, aiming to improve the corporate image and quality of service of the Met. The programme saw the Met renamed from the "Metropolitan Police Force" to the "Metropolitan Police Service", the name it has retained to this day.[4] In addition, a Statement of Common Purpose and Values was devised.

Imbert suffered a heart attack in 1990, and took six months off duty. Further illness in 1992 led to his retirement from the police on 31 January 1993.


He was awarded the Queen's Police Medal (QPM) in 1980.[5]

Imbert was Knighted in 1988.[6]

Imbert was created Deputy Lord Lieutenant of London in 1994, and Lord Lieutenant in 1998, an office he held until 2008.

He was created a life peer on 10 February 1999, taking the title Baron Imbert, of New Romney in the county of Kent.[7]

He was appointed a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) in the 2008 New Year Honours.[8]

Imbert Prize[edit]

Main article: Imbert Prize

Lord Imbert is a patron of the Association of Security Consultants (ASC), which has awarded the Imbert Prize annually since 2005. The prize is awarded for the development of ideas for the advancement of risk and security management in the UK. It consists of three categories: 1) Best academic dissertation, 2) Most notable contribution in the security industry in the preceding year and 3) The ASC member that has made the most significant contribution to independent security consultancy.[9][10] Between 1983 and 2001 Baron Imbert served on the academic consultative committee at Cumberland Lodge.[11]


  1. ^ 1975: Balcombe Street siege ends,, 12 December 1975.
  2. ^ London, Kevin Toolis; Kevin Toolis Is A. Reporter For The Sunday Correspondent Of (1990-02-25). "WHEN BRITISH JUSTICE FAILED". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-08-20. 
  3. ^ Police (1982), screenonline.
  4. ^ Fleming, Robert; Hugh Miller (1995). Scotland Yard. London: Signet. ISBN 0-451-18250-2. 
  5. ^ "(Supplement) no. 48212". The London Gazette. 14 June 1980. p. 29. 
  6. ^ "no. 51558". The London Gazette. 13 December 1988. p. 13986. 
  7. ^ "no. 55403". The London Gazette. 15 February 1999. p. 1763. 
  8. ^ "(Supplement) no. 58557". The London Gazette. 29 December 2007. p. 3. 
  9. ^ "The Imbert Prize". Association of Security Consultants. Retrieved 26 June 2009. 
  10. ^ "Brian Sims nominated for Imbert Prize". Info4Security. 6 May 2008. Retrieved 26 June 2009. 
  11. ^ Cumberland Lodge: Trustees

External links[edit]

Police appointments
Preceded by
David Holdsworth
Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police
Succeeded by
Colin Smith
Preceded by
Sir Kenneth Newman
Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
Succeeded by
Sir Paul Condon
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Lord Bramall
Lord Lieutenant of Greater London
Succeeded by
Sir David Brewer