Sir Mark Rowley named new Met Police Commissioner

·3-min read
 Sir Mark Rowley  (PA Archive)
Sir Mark Rowley (PA Archive)

Sir Mark Rowley has been named the new commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

The former counter terror chief takes over at one of the most turbulent times in the Met's history, with the force in special measures.

Sir Mark is returning to policing after retiring in 2018 having served as the Met’s Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations.

Sources in City Hall said he was Sadiq Khan’s “number one choice” for the job because of his previous policing record, which included leading London’s response to the 2017 terror attacks and the Salisbury poisonings the following year.

Mr Khan hopes Sir Mark will be instrumental in rebuilding trust in the force.

The Mayor forced Dame Cressida Dick out of the post in February after a string of racism and sexism scandals, including the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving officer.

He told Dame Cressida that he had lost confidence in her ability to make changes at the crisis-ridden force.

Mr Khan said on Friday: “The Home Secretary and I have agreed that Sir Mark Rowley is the best person to lead the Metropolitan Police as the new Commissioner at this extremely challenging time.

“A series of appalling scandals have not only exposed deep cultural problems within the Met, but have contributed to a crisis of confidence in London’s police service.

“Sir Mark has made clear to me that he is determined to be a reforming Commissioner, committed to implementing a robust plan to rebuild trust and confidence in the police and to drive through the urgent reforms and step change in culture and performance Londoners deserve.

“As Mayor, I will support and hold him to these promises as I continue to hold the Met to account.”

Sir Mark began his policing career in 1987, joining West Midlands Police as a constable.

He was Chief Constable of Surrey Police between 2009 and 2011 before joining the Met.

While in London led the response to the poisoning in Salisbury of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in 2018 shortly before retiring.

He then retired and beame an author, co-writing counter-terrorism thriller The Sleep of Reason.

Home Secretary Priti Patel described Sir Mark as a “distinguished and exceptionally experienced police officer”.

She added: “He takes on one of the most important and demanding jobs in policing, leading the country’s largest force at a time when public trust in the Metropolitan Police has been severely undermined by a number of significant failings.

“Rebuilding public trust and delivering on crime reduction must be his priority.

“This will be a challenging period, but with a focus on tackling neighbourhood crime and delivering the basics of policing, Sir Mark is committed to tackling the significant challenges confronting the force and to making London’s streets safer by driving down crime and bringing more criminals to justice.”

Sir Mark beat the Met’s Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave QPM to take the top job.

He takes on the force at a time when public trust is low, particularly among ethnic minority comunities and women.

It follows the botched response to the murder of Ms Everard by Wayne Couzens, the troubling sexism, racism and assault allegations about officers at Charing Cross police station, and the strip-search by officers of a 14-year-old Black girl without supervision at a school in Hackney.

Sir Mark said: “Our mission is to lead the renewal of policing by consent which has been so heavily dented in recent years as trust and confidence have fallen.

“I am grateful that the Home Secretary and Mayor are both determined to support the urgent reforms we need to deliver successful community crimefighting in today’s fast moving world.

"These reforms include our use of technology and data, our culture and our policing approach. We will fight crime with communities – not unilaterally dispense tactics."

Sir Mark’s first day in the job will be confirmed at a later date.

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