British Politics Today
Profile: Met Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe
Bernard Hogan-Howe, the newly-appointed Metropolitan Police Commissioner, fits the bill for the “single-minded crime fighter” sought by the home secretary.



Theresa May had made the call after his predecessor Sir Paul Stephenson, and his assistant John Yates, quit amid criticism of the Met’s role in the phone-hacking scandal.

And the former Merseyside Police chief was well-placed to take on the job of the UK’s top police officer, having been called on to act as the Met’s deputy commissioner in the wake of the resignations.

During five years on Merseyside to 2009, Mr Hogan-Howe developed a high profile via regular web chats and broadcasts, appearances on local radio phone-ins and horseback rides through the city centre.

And he earned admirers for his tough approach to anti-social behaviour and stance on gun crime in the wake of the fatal shooting of 11-year-old Rhys Jones.

Born in Sheffield, the football enthusiast’s rise through the ranks began with South Yorkshire Police in 1979.

'Tough stance'

He worked as a traffic officer, detective and district commander, gaining an MA in law from Oxford University and a diploma in applied criminology from Cambridge University along the way.

In 1997 he moved to Merseyside police and four years later joined the Met as an assistant commissioner, before returning to Liverpool in 2004.

During that time, crime dropped by a third, and the force claims anti-social behaviour rates were cut in half through a zero-tolerance approach.

Bernard Hogan-Howe’s career

1979: South Yorkshire Police

1997: Assistant Chief Constable, Merseyside

2001: Assistant Commissioner, Metropolitan Police

2004: Chief Constable of Merseyside

2009: HM Inspectorate of Constabulary

He hit the headlines in 2006 for sprinting after a suspected drink-driver after spotting him from his chauffeur-driven car.

Mr Hogan-Howe was the man in charge in 2007, when 11-year-old Rhys Jones was shot dead as he walked home from football practice.

The killing horrified the nation and there were grumblings from some in the media when there was no immediate arrest.

But Mr Hogan-Howe got his man in December 2008 when Sean Mercer, 18, was jailed for life and several members of his gang were also locked up.

'Clear philosophy'

That year, he accused some judges of being lenient on gun crime by overlooking mandatory five-year sentences for possession of a firearm.

He also called for those shielding gun criminals from police to be evicted from homes.

Mr Hogan-Howe set up the specialist Matrix team to tackle gun crime - the first of its kind outside London.









The home secretary and London mayor were “of one mind” in appointing Mr Hogan-Howe.

The unit’s former head, Det Supt Geoff Sloane, said: “When he came he had a clear philosophy. It was to tackle organised crime, gang-related crime but also to make sure victims were properly supported, which was backed up by strong neighbourhood policing.”

Before leaving Merseyside, he applied to succeed Sir Hugh Orde as chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

However, he withdrew from the application process to take up a role with Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies.

He was called back to the Met in July to support Acting Commissioner Tim Godwin - later a rival for the top job - in bringing stability to the force after Sir Paul Stephenson’s resignation.

The home secretary and London Mayor Boris Johnson said they were “of one mind” in their decision to appoint Mr Hogan-Howe.

Mrs May cited his “excellent track-record” in reducing crime had proven the deciding factor.