Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis

The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis is the head of London's Metropolitan Police Service. Cressida Dick was appointed to the post in 2017, and assumed office on 10 April. [1]

Commissioner of Police
of the Metropolis
Dame Cressida Dick

since April 10, 2017
Reports toThe Home Secretary
AppointerThe Monarch
on advice of the Home Secretary
Term lengthAt Her Majesty's pleasure
DeputyDeputy Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis

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The Commissioner is regarded as the highest ranking police officer in the United Kingdom, although their authority is generally confined to the Metropolitan Police Service's area of operation, the Metropolitan Police District. However, unlike other police forces the Metropolitan Police has certain national responsibilities such as leading counter-terrorism policing and the protection of the Royal Family and senior members of Her Majesty's Government. Furthermore, the postholder is directly accountable to the Home Secretary and the public nationally amongst many others (the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime, the Mayor of London, Londoners) whereas smaller police forces are only accountable to residents and their local Police and Crime Commissioner or police authority.[2]

The rank is usually referred to as the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, the Met Commissioner or simply just "Commissioner".

The Commissioner's annual compensation without pension contributions or allowances from 1 September 2016 is £270,648 + £2,373.


The rank of Commissioner was created by the Metropolitan Police Act 1829; until 1855, the post was held jointly by two officers, but after the Metropolitan Police Act 1856 it was merged into a single post. The Commissioners were Justices of the Peace and not sworn constables until 1 April 1974.[3] The title Commissioner was not used until 1839.

The insignia of rank is a crown above a Bath Star, known as "pips", above crossed tipstaves within a wreath, very similar to the insignia worn by a full general in the British Army. This badge is all but unique within the British police, shared only with the Commissioner of the City of London Police, the smallest territorial police force, and HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary. Like all chief officer ranks in the British police, commissioners wear gorget patches on the collars of their tunics. The gorget patches are similar to those worn by generals, aside from being of silver-on-black instead of the Army's gold-on-red.

At one time, the commissioners were either retired military officers or civil servants. Sir John Nott-Bower, who served as Commissioner from 1953 to 1958, was the first career police officer to hold the post, despite several previous Commissioners having served in senior administrative positions in colonial forces, and the Metropolitan Police itself. Nott-Bower's successor Sir Joseph Simpson was the first Commissioner to have started his career as the lowest rank of Constable. However, Sir Robert Mark, appointed in 1972, was the first to have risen through all the ranks from the lowest to the highest, as all his successors have done.

As of 2008, the post of Commissioner is appointed for a period of five years.[4] Applicants are appointed to the post by the Queen, following a recommendation by the Home Secretary under the Police Act 1996.[4]

Eligibility and accountability

Applicants to the post of Commissioner had to be British citizens, and be "serving UK chief constables or of equivalent UK ranks and above, or have recent experience at these levels".[4] The post of Commissioner is "accountable to the Home Secretary; to the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime, and must answer to Londoners and the public nationally."[4]

The requirement to be a British national blocked the appointment of non-British Commissioners in the past. In August 2011, Prime Minister David Cameron wanted former Los Angeles Police Department Chief Bill Bratton to become the new Met Police Commissioner, but this was blocked by the Home Office pointing out that the Commissioner has to be British.[5] This changed with an amendment to the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 whereby a person who is or has been "a police officer in an approved overseas police force, of at least the approved rank" could be appointed, in addition to "a constable in any part of the United Kingdom".[6][7]

The selection process in 2017 to select Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe's successor involved the candidates undergoing psychometric testing in addition to interviews with the Home Secretary, Mayor of London and Policing Minister. The process is conducted in private and the Home Office has specifically called for a "news blackout."[8] The discussion and public profile of the candidates was limited to speculation and rumour, with the Home Office refusing to even confirm the shortlisted candidates covered in the media.[9]

The Centre for Public Safety has recommended the selection process be reformed, to provide opportunities for greater public, community and workforce engagement in the process. In particular, suggesting a series of community interview panels and a public candidate forum - though they maintain that the final decision should still rest with the Home Secretary.[10]

List of Commissioners

# FromToMilitary rank
(if applicable)
1 1829 1850 Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Charles Rowan KCB First Joint Commissioner
2 1829 1868 Sir Richard Mayne KCB Second Joint Commissioner (1829–1850) then First Joint Commissioner (1850–1855) and finally Commissioner (1855-1868)
3 1850 1855 Captain William Hay CB Second Joint Commissioner
4 1868 1869 Lieutenant-Colonel Douglas Labalmondière CB Acting
5 1869 1886 Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Edmund Henderson KCB
6 1886 1888 Major-General Sir Charles Warren GCMG, KCB Later returned to military duties
7 1888 1890 James Monro CB Senior civil servant before becoming Assistant Commissioner (Crime) and then Commissioner
8 1890 1903 Colonel Sir Edward Bradford Bt. GCB, GCVO, KCSI
9 1903 1918 Sir Edward Henry Bt. GCVO, KCB, CSI, KPM Senior civil servant before being appointed Inspector-General of Police of Bengal. Later served in other senior police appointments before becoming Commissioner.
10 1918 1920 General Sir Nevil Macready GCMG, KCB
11 1920 1928 Brigadier-General Sir William Horwood GBE, KCB, DSO
12 1928 1931 General The Viscount Byng of Vimy KCB, KCMG
13 1931 1935 Marshal of the Royal Air Force The Lord Trenchard GCB, GCVO, DSO See Hugh Trenchard as Metropolitan Police Commissioner for details.
14 1935 1945 Air Vice-Marshal Sir Philip Game GCB, GCVO, GBE, KCMG, DSO
15 1945 1953 Sir Harold Scott GCVO, KCB, KBE Previously a senior civil servant. First Commissioner without any police or military background since Sir Richard Mayne.
16 1953 1958 Sir John Nott-Bower KCVO, KPM After Army service as a Second Lieutenant, Nott-Bower entered the Indian police as a superintendent.
17 1958 1968 Sir Joseph Simpson KBE, KPFSM Graduated from the Hendon Police College, as an acting station inspector after having joined as a constable.
18 1968 1972 Sir John Waldron KCVO Graduated from the Hendon Police College.
19 1972 1977 Sir Robert Mark GBE, QPM First Metropolitan Commissioner to have risen through all the police ranks from the lowest to the highest
20 1977 1982 Sir David McNee QPM
21 1982 1987 Sir Kenneth Newman GBE, QPM
22 1987 1993 Sir Peter Imbert QPM
23 1993 2000 Sir Paul Condon QPM
24 2000 2005 Sir John Stevens QPM
25 2005 2008 Sir Ian Blair QPM
26 2009 2011 Sir Paul Stephenson QPM Introduced Single Patrol policy where officers were required to patrol on their own by default
27 2011 2017 Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe QPM Formerly Chief Constable of Merseyside Police from 2004–2009.
28 2017 Dame Cressida Dick DBE, QPM First woman to be appointed Commissioner. Assumed office on 10 April 2017.

See also


  1. "Cressida Dick appointed as first female Met Police chief". BBC News. 22 February 2017. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  2. Metropolitan Police Authority - the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis Archived 14 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  3. section 1(9)(a) of the Administration of Justice Act 1973 (as in para 10, Schedule 1 to the Act), which came into force 1 April 1974 by section 20 (commencement).
  4. "COMMISSIONER OF POLICE OF THE METROPOLIS Applications are invited from senior police officers for this unique post". Home Office / Metropolitan Police Authority. 7 November 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 January 2009. Retrieved 15 December 2008. The Commissioner is accountable to the Home Secretary; to the MPA, chaired by the Mayor of London; and must answer to Londoners and the public nationally...Applicants should be serving UK chief constables or of equivalent UK ranks and above, or have recent experience at these levels. Because of the role of the Commissioner in national security, applicants must be British citizens. The appointment will be made by Her Majesty The Queen following a recommendation by the Home Secretary under the Police Act 1996. Before making this recommendation the Home Secretary will have regard to any recommendations made to her by the MPA and any representations from the Mayor of London...The appointment will be for a period of five years...Applications to be received by 12 noon on 1st December 2008.
  5. Whitehead, Tom (5 August 2011). "David Cameron's US 'supercop' blocked by Theresa May". Daily Telegraph. London.
  6. "Selection and appointment of Chief Officers". UK Home Office. 9 March 2018. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  7. "Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011". Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  8. Police, Vikram Dodd; correspondent, crime (2 February 2017). "Two women among final four for Metropolitan police top job". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  9. "Two women among four shortlisted in race for top Met job". Evening Standard. 2 February 2017. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  10. "The Next Commissioner: Giving Londoners a voice in the selection of their police chief – The Centre for Public Safety". Retrieved 15 February 2017.
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