PSNI Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde was last night giving little away about the possibility that he may succeed the outgoing Metropolitan Chief Commissioner.
Speculation surrounding Sir Hugh taking the top post in UK policing follows the resignation of Met chief Sir Ian Blair yesterday — blaming a lack of support from London mayor Boris Johnson.
And last night, Sir Hugh was one of the bookies’ favourites to take the top job.
Bookmakers William Hill have opened their book on who will become the next permanent Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, with Sir Hugh at 3/1, while former Chief Constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan is 33/1.
However, after yesterday's meeting of the Policing Board, Sir Hugh appeared to rule out a move away from Northern Ireland in the near future.
He said: “I've only just been made aware that some statement is going to be made and, as I said at today's board meeting, my concern currently is to protect the community of Northern Ireland and to deal with the dissident republican threat and that is where 100% of my energy currently is.”
He added: “I have two years of my contract left here. I have no plans to move at the moment — wait and see I suspect is the best answer to this.”
Sir Hugh suggested he might not have the appetite to take on the Met job. “I have done six years, I am in my seventh year as chief of Northern Ireland; it is a fairly busy and fairly challenging job and I am not convinced that anyone who has done this would be prepared to move on and do another five years in such a challenging role,” he said.
Last night a PSNI spokeswoman said: “As in any situation, where an important decision regarding a career is to be made, all possible options must be considered.”