Neil Basu is leaving Scotland Yard on secondment
The country’s most senior counter-terrorism officer is moving to a new job that could boost his chances of becoming the next Met Commissioner.
Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu is leaving Scotland Yard on secondment to run the College of Policing’s strategic command course. He will be replaced by Assistant Commissioner Matt Jukes.
The switch appears designed to enhance Mr Basu’s prospects of replacing Dame Cressida Dick to become the first ethnic minority Met Commissioner.
Dame Cressida’s current contract expires next year and there has been no indication so far as to whether she will either seek or be given an extension, despite some recent briefing against her in the wake of the Sarah Everard vigil and renewed controversy over the Met’s bungled Operation Midland into a non-existent VIP child abuse ring at Westminster.
Mr Basu’s new role will leave him well placed if Dame Cressida does depart. It will also build upon the experience he has gained as the head of national counter-terrorism since 2018.
During that time Mr Basu has had to cope with several major terror attacks, including the London Bridge murders of November 2019 by the freed terrorist convict Usman Khan, and the attempted killing spree in Streatham by another released extremist, Sudesh Amman, in February last year.
He and his colleagues have also joined MI5 in foiling more than 20 other plots in recent years.
Mr Basu, the country’s most senior ethnic officer, who describes himself as mixed race of Welsh and Indian parentage, has also spoken out on subjects including race, saying that he has suffered racial discrimination since childhood, often from people who wrongly assume he is Muslim.
In a blog last October, he also disclosed that he did not like the term “Black History Month” because “I don’t like the fact that we need a special month to recognise and celebrate black achievement or understand racism”.
He went on to warn that there remained “a burning platform” in relations between police and members of the black African and black Afro-Caribbean communities.
He said that “years of inequality, deprivation and poor treatment play a huge part” and insisted that he wanted to help bring about change.