The front runner to succeed Sir Hugh Orde as PSNI Chief Constable has dropped out of the race, it has emerged. Merseyside police chief Bernard Hogan Howe (pictured) had been tipped as the favourite to take on the £184,000-a-year post.
But he has now withdrawn from the contest, leaving the other four shortlisted candidates for interview next week.
It is understood Mr Hogan Howe is set to take on a role at Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary instead — an organisation formerly led by ex RUC Chief Constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan.
The remaining hopefuls for the PSNI's top post — Northern Ireland-born head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) Jim Gamble, Leicestershire police chief Matt Baggott, Durham chief constable Jon Stoddart and head of West Mercia police Paul West— were all in Belfast yesterday for an orientation session before next Tuesday's interviews.