Dame Lynne Owens said she was not applying for the role but did not want to reveal her reasons, but they are not health-related and she is stil
Dame Lynne Owens said she was not applying for the role but did not want to reveal her reasons, but they are not health-related and she is still ‘looking for my next career challenge’
Dame Lynne Owens had led the National Crime Agency – dubbed ‘Britain’s FBI‘ – from 2016 until last October.
She had been seen as the natural successor to the Scotland Yard top job until she retired on health grounds last autumn. She has now fully recovered from cancer.
But Dame Lynne said she was not applying for the Met role today. She did not want to reveal her reasons, other than saying they are not health-related and she is still ‘looking for my next career challenge’.
Dame Cressida quit in February after losing the support of London mayor Sadiq Khan, who said publicly after a string of scandals that he no longer felt she could restore trust and confidence in the force.
Home Secretary Priti Patel has ordered an inquiry into how her departure was handled over concerns that due process was not followed.
Now, a string of senior officers have been ‘tapped on the shoulder’ to apply in order to widen the field of candidates, sources told The Times.
Dame Lynne posted on Twitter today: ‘The deadline for @metpoliceuk Commissioner applications is tomorrow. To prevent speculation & in the interests of transparency I’m not applying.
Dame Cressida quit in February after losing the support of London mayor Sadiq Khan
‘I’m so grateful for the support I’ve had as I’ve worked through my decision.
‘I do not intend to talk about my rationale other than to say it is not health related & I am actively looking for my next career challenge! I wish candidates every success – policing will always hold my (heart emoji).’
As well as being contacted by Home Office officials, chief constables have also been approached by Sophie Linden, Khan’s deputy mayor for policing, it is understood.
One senior officer said: ‘It’s not surprising they’ve been trying to get lots of people to apply. They want a decent field as it’s the most senior job in policing.
‘But the way Cress was treated, and the increasingly political nature of that job — it’s fair to say that’s turned a few people off.’
A Home Office source said: ‘We want to make sure that chief constables know they are welcome to apply, that we want to attract the best from across the country.’
Met chief Dame Cressida Dick left the job last week after five years, with her deputy Sir Stephen House temporarily taking the reins until a permanent successor is appointed in the summer.
Potential candidates for the post include former director general of the National Crime Agency Dame Lynne Owens and current Met Assistant Commissioner Matt Jukes.
Applications close on May 4.
The Met has been mired in a series of incidents that have damaged public confidence, including deeply offensive messages shared by a team based at Charing Cross station and the strip-search of a black schoolgirl.
Dame Cressida admitted herself that Sarah Everard’s rape and murder by then-serving police officer Wayne Couzens had brought ‘shame’ on the force and damaged public confidence in police.
Britain’s most senior officer also failed to get a grip on a culture of racism, sexism and bullying that has haunted Scotland Yard for years.
The advert for her replacement states that it has become ‘evident that significant and sustained improvements need to be made within the MPS to restore public confidence and legitimacy in the largest police force in the UK.’
It continues: ‘This will require inspirational leadership to deliver a demonstrably more professional police force, that better reflects the diversity of London itself.’
The Met has also been heavily criticised by watchdogs the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) in recent months.
HMICFRS found that the Met’s approach to tackling corruption was not fit for purpose, and described storage of evidence by some teams as ‘dire’ with drugs, jewellery and money going missing and guns not properly secured.
Sir Mark Rowley is a familiar figure after leading the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism operations for four years, while Lucy D’Orsi has been praised for her work at the British Transport Police
While the IOPC took the unusual step of publishing disturbing messages shared by the Charing Cross team – despite the fact that much of the content was too offensive to print in mainstream news coverage – as it detailed the ‘disgraceful’ behaviour of officers based in a now disbanded Westminster team between 2016 and 2018.
Matt Jukes is currently serving as an Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations
IOPC regional director Sal Naseem said that the issues raised were ‘not isolated or historic’.
Two inquiries, set up in the wake of the murder of Miss Everard, are being held into culture at the Met – an internally-commissioned probe led by Baroness Louise Casey, and a Home Office commissioned inquiry by Dame Elish Angiolini.
‘You will lead the service through significant change, role-modelling credible, visible and empowering leadership to address concerns around police conduct and tackling institutional culture.
‘The successful candidate will be responsible for re-establishing trust and confidence in policing amongst everyone living in London, particularly women and girls and those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.’
The role, considered the most senior police rank in the country, has a salary of £292,938 – almost twice as much as the Prime Minister.