Top UK counter-terrorism officer Sir Mark Rowley named head of London's Met Police

Sir Mark replaces Cressida Dick as the capital's force faces multiple challenges

Sir Mark Rowley has been appointed as the next commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police. Issue date: Friday July 8, 2022.
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One of Britain's top counter-terrorism officers, Sir Mark Rowley, has been appointed as the new commissioner of the country’s biggest police force.

Sir Mark, 57, replaces Cressida Dick as head of London's Metropolitan Police. He had lost out to her for the position in 2017.

His appointment comes as the force faces the biggest crisis in its history after the policing inspectorate placed it in special measures for the first time.

Sir Mark was formally appointed by Queen Elizabeth II following a recommendation from Home Secretary Priti Patel, after what was described as a highly competitive recruitment process.

“Sir Mark is a distinguished and exceptionally experienced police officer, having served the people of the West Midlands and Surrey before guiding the capital through some of its most challenging moments in the wake of the 2017 terror attacks, as the Met’s then head of counter-terrorism,” Ms Patel said.

“He now 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.

“As the largest police force in the country, we have supported the Met to recruit 2,599 extra police officers and increased their annual policing budget to £3.24 billion ($3.88bn) in 2022-23. I look forward to working closely with Sir Mark to ensure this investment drives essential change to ensure the force delivers for the people of London.”

Sir Mark previously served the Met as Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Crime and Operations between 2011 and 2014, and was the National Police Chiefs' Council Lead for Counter-Terrorism from 2014 to 2018.

He was knighted in 2018 for his exceptional contribution to national security and national leadership at a time of unprecedented threat.

“I feel deeply honoured to be appointed to be the next Metropolitan Police Commissioner. 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,” Sir Mark said.

“I am grateful that the Home Secretary and Mayor are both determined to support the urgent reforms we need to deliver successful community crime-fighting 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.

“I also know that the majority of officers and staff retain an extraordinary sense of vocation and determination and want us to do better. It is my job to help them do that, whilst also being ruthless in removing those who are corrupting our integrity.

“We will deliver more trust, less crime and high standards for London and beyond and we will work with London’s diverse communities as we together renew the uniquely British invention of ‘policing by consent’.”

The Metropolitan Police was shaken after the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving police officer. Reuters.

The force has recently faced criticism over its handling of a string of high profile cases, which came on top of revelations of a culture of bullying, racial discrimination and misogyny within its ranks.

It was particularly shaken last year by the abduction, rape and murder of a woman, Sarah Everard, by one of its officers, and the policing of a vigil in her honour was later found to be unlawful by a London court.

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,” Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said.

“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 has demonstrated to me that he is the outstanding candidate for this role. He brings a wealth of great experience to the position, including exceptional leadership during the 2017 terror attacks and a genuine commitment to increasing engagement with diverse communities across our city.

“The experience he has gained outside policing over the last four years will also bring a valuable new perspective to the Met. Above all, he is committed to policing by consent and shares my ambition to get to a place where all Londoners feel protected and served, and where we have a police force that everyone — including the many brave and dedicated officers in our city — can be proud of.”

In February, former chief Ms Dick resigned after Mr Khan told her he was not satisfied she could root out the problems that existed within the force.

Updated: July 08, 2022, 3:02 PM