Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis

Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
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The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis is the head of London's Metropolitan Police Service, classing the holder as a chief police officer. The post is currently held by Bernard Hogan-Howe after his appointment by the Queen on 12 September 2011.[1]

The Commissioner is regarded as the leading police officer in the United Kingdom, despite the fact that his authority is generally confined to the Metropolitan Police Service's area of operation, Greater London. 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 Metropolitan Police Authority, the Mayor of London, Londoners) whereas smaller police forces are only accountable to their local police authority and residents.[2] The rank is usually referred to as the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, the Met Commissioner or simply just "Commissioner". The Commissioner's annual salary without pension contributions or allowances from 1 September 2010, is £260,088, more than one-hundred and fifty thousand pounds (£150,000) higher than the lowest paid Chief Police officers outside London (namely: the Chief Constables of the Scottish Police forces')[3]



The rank of Commissioner was created by the Metropolitan Police Act 1829, until 1855, the post was held jointly by two officers. The Commissioners were Justices of the Peace and not sworn constables until 1 April 1974.[4] The title Commissioner was not used until 1839.

A Commissioner is always Knighted on appointment if he has not already been, as some Deputy Commissioners are also knighted. 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.

At one time, the commissioners were either retired military officers or civil servants. Sir John Nott-Bower 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. 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, the post of Commissioner is appointed for a period of five years.[5] Applicants are appointed to the post by Her Majesty The Queen, following a recommendation by the Home Secretary under the Police Act 1996.[5]

As of 2010 the salary of the Commissioner of the Metropolis is £260,088.[6]

Eligibility and accountability

As of 2008, applicants to the post of Commissioner must be British citizens, and be "serving UK chief constables or of equivalent UK ranks and above, or have recent experience at these levels".[5] The post of 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"[5]

This requirement to be a British national has blocked the appointment of non-British Commissioners in the past. In August 2011, Prime Minister David Cameron wanted US "supercop" Bill Bratton to become the new Met Police Commissioner, but this was blocked by the Home Office citing that the Commissioner has to be British.[7]

List of Commissioners

From To Military rank
(if applicable)
Name Notes
1829 1850 Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Charles Rowan First Joint Commissioner
1829 1868 Sir Richard Mayne Second Joint Commissioner (1829–1850) then First Joint Commissioner (1850–1855) and finally Commissioner (1855-1868)
1850 1855 Captain William Hay Second Joint Commissioner
1868 1869 Lieutenant-Colonel Douglas Labalmondière Acting
1869 1886 Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Edmund Henderson
1886 1888 Major-General Sir Charles Warren Later returned to military duties
1886 1888 James Monro Senior civil servant before becoming Assistant Commissioner (Crime) and then Commissioner
1890 1903 Colonel Sir Edward Bradford
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.
1918 1920 General Sir Nevil Macready
1920 1928 Brigadier-General Sir William Horwood
1928 1931 General The Viscount Byng of Vimy
1931 1935 Marshal of the Royal Air Force The Lord Trenchard
1935 1945 Air Vice-Marshal Sir Philip Game
1945 1953 Sir Harold Scott Previously a senior civil servant. First Commissioner without any police or military background since Sir Richard Mayne.
1953 1958 Sir John Nott-Bower After Army service as a Second Lieutenant, Nott-Bower entered the police as a superintendent.
1958 1968 Sir Joseph Simpson Graduated from the Hendon Police College, entering the police as an acting station inspector.
1968 1972 Sir John Waldron Graduated from the Hendon Police College.
1972 1977 Sir Robert Mark First Metropolitan Commissioner to have risen through all the police ranks from the lowest to the highest
1977 1982 Sir David McNee
1982 1987 Sir Kenneth Newman
1987 1993 Sir Peter Imbert
1993 2000 Sir Paul Condon
2000 2005 Sir John Stevens
2005 2008 Sir Ian Blair
2009 2011 Sir Paul Stephenson Introduced Single Patrol policy where officers were required to patrol on their own by default
2011 2011 Tim Godwin Acting
2011 Bernard Hogan-Howe Incumbent- Formerly Chief Constable of Merseyside Police from 2004 - 2009

See also

  • UK police ranks


  1. ^ "Bernard Hogan-Howe new Metropolitan Police commissioner". 12 September 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  2. ^ Metropolitan Police Authority - the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
  3. ^
  4. ^ 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).
  5. ^ a b c d "COMMISSIONER OF POLICE OF THE METROPOLIS Applications are invited from senior police officers for this unique post." (pdf). Home Office / Metropolitan Police Authority. 7 November 2008. 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." 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "David Cameron's US 'supercop' blocked by Theresa May". Daily Telegraph. 5 August 2011. 

External links

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