It has now been publicly confirmed that the nine applicants for the post of Met Commissioner (or “Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis” to use the proper title) have now been whittled down to four. This follows a short-listing meeting earlier this week, chaired by Sir David Normington (Permanent Secretary at the Home Office).
The lucky four are:
- Sir Paul Stephenson, currently acting Commissioner, who was Sir Ian Blair’s Deputy and was formerly Chief Constable of Lancashire;
- Sir Hugh Orde, Chief Constable of Northern Ireland and formerly a Deputy Assistant Commissioner at the Met;
- Sir Paul Scott-Lee, Chief Constable of the West Midlands; and
- Bernard Hogan-Howe, Chief Constable of Merseyside and formerly an Assistant Commissioner at the Met (and the only non-knight in the list).
They all have substantial experience and it would be wrong to describe any of them as the front-runner. The race is genuinely an open one.
The next stage is an interview for the four candidates at the Home Office in January, followed by an interview a few days later at the Metropolitan Police Authority. The names will then be considered by the Home Secretary, presumably with the comments/recommendations from the two interviews. Technically, the Commissioner is a Royal appointment with the Queen being advised by the Home Secretary, who must in turn have consulted the Metropolitan Police Authority and considered any representations made by the Mayor of London.
White smoke by the end of next month?