Search for Cressida Dick’s replacement at Met down to final two

The search for a new 警視庁 commissioner has been whittled down to a final two: Mark Rowley, a former head of counter-terrorism, or Nick Ephgrave, currently part of the embattled force’s top leadership.

The process of picking Cressida Dick’s replacement has seen three more applicants being eliminated before any interviews took place.

Rowley, 57, left the Met in 2018, and will now be seen as a strong favourite to become the most senior police officer in the UK. It is a resurrection of sorts: he applied last time in 2017 but lost out to Dick, and has been working in the private sector since leaving policing four years ago.

The next stage is expected to be an interview by an expert panel, whose job it usually is to narrow the field to the final two, but that has already been done. The final two candidates then face interviews with the home secretary, プリティ・パテル, そして ロンドン 市長, サディク・カーン.

The commissioner for the London force is picked by the home secretary, who has to take into account the views of the mayor, who is also the police and crime commissioner for London.

The big hurdle for Ephgrave, 56, was his time as a top lieutenant to Dick as the Met lurched from crisis to crisis and public confidence haemorrhaged. He served in the Met, including as a detective, before leaving to be deputy chief constable of Surrey in 2013. He rejoined the Met in 2019 as an assistant commissioner and for the past two years has been leading frontline policing. That includes local officers.

He was the public face of the Met, instead of Dick, in the aftermath of the conviction of Wayne Couzens for the murder of Sarah Everard. During a press conference he suggested women anxious about a police officer who approaches them on a street could wave down a bus. He did add the scandal meant the Met needed to “examine our own culture”.

Rowley was close to the last commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe, who is understood to have been unimpressed with the Met’s leadership in the past five years.

The rejected senior police leaders were eliminated after a panel read their written applications. Shaun Sawyer, the veteran chief constable of Devon and Cornwall who served for more than two decades in the Met, was knocked back.

Jon Boutcher, a former chief constable of Bedfordshire, was also eliminated over the weekend without an interview. He was formerly a distinguished counter-terrorism detective and was ahead of his peers in seeing race problems still blighting law enforcement while chief.

Also eliminated is Mike Bush, the former chief of police in New Zealand – a rare overseas applicant for the top job in British policing – who was seen as a reformer during his time in charge.

The advert for the role, issued by the Home Office and London mayor, said the next commissioner had to turn around the “serious failings” in the Met. Both of the two final candidates were chief constables of the Surrey force.

Dick resigned in February after Khan became convinced she could not lead the Met out of its crisis. She retains support among significant sections of the Met’s leadership.

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