Mark Rowley has officially started work as the new Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, succeeding Cressida Dick who left the job in April in the wake of a series of scandals and following a long term fall in Londoners’ confidence in the Met.
Welcoming Rowley to his new position, Sadiq Khan said the new commissioner is taking over at “a critical juncture in the history of the Metropolitan Police Service, which is facing some extremely difficult challenges”.
Rowley, who was previously at the Met as UK head of counter terrorism and led investigations into the series of attacks that took place in 2017, said when he was named commissioner in July that “some quite dramatic solutions” will be needed for policing to keep up with the pace of modern public expectations.
The BBC reports that his plans for the Met include “new precision crime-fighting teams to get a grip on crime at a local level” as the service continues to be closely monitored and supported by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary under measures introduced in June.
The choice of Rowley to succeed Dick was made by the now former Home Secretary Priti Patel after both she and Mayor Khan concluded early this year that significant change at the Met was needed.
Like previous commissioners, Rowley will be accountable to the Mayor through his Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) despite the Home Secretary having the biggest say about who becomes “Britain’s top cop”.
Patel herself has since been replaced by former attorney general Suella Braverman, who was appointed by new Prime Minister Liz Truss. She and the Mayor met and spoke at the service of prayer and mourning held in honour of Queen Elizabeth at St Paul’s cathedral on Friday evening.
Truss used the final hustings of the recent Conservative Party election campaign, which resulted in her becoming PM, to criticise Khan over crime in the capital, telling Tory members, “We need a Mayor of London who is actually prepared to be tough on crime and I’m afraid we don’t have that in Sadiq Khan”.
However, Truss stopped short of advocating Khan having the limited devolved powers London Mayors enjoy over policing in the capital removed and placed with Whitehall.
Rowley had been due to appear before the London Assembly’s police and crime committee, which scrutinies the Met and MOPAC on behalf of Londoners, this week, but normal Assembly public meetings have been cancelled out of respect for the death of Elizabeth.
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