PSNI Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde is expected to be in the running for the UK’s top police post when the deadline for applications closes today.
Sir Hugh — Chief Constable here since 2002 — is considered one of the favourites to succeed Sir Ian Blair as Metropolitan Police Commissioner.
The London job, with a five-year contract and a salary of £250,000, was advertised in the Police Review Magazine at the beginning of November.
Current Deputy Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson is seen as the man to beat but Sir Hugh, with 25 years service in the Metropolitan Police before joining the PSNI, is considered a serious contender.
He has delivered a wide-ranging programme of police reforms here and, in today’s world, his counter-terrorism knowledge involving close working relations with the Security Service will be viewed among his key strengths.
Also important — particularly in the current London context — is his experience at the police/politics interface.
Crime in Northern Ireland is at a six-year low.
Sir Hugh (50) has a contract here until 2010, but it has been widely predicted that he would apply for the UK’s top post.
“The reason why I think he should go for it is that he is the most rounded police chief in the field,” a political source who knows him commented.
“He covers all the bases — a reform chief, a chief who knows the national security situation and has independence from political and security masters, and that is much needed.”
“I think it would be a loss for the Met if he doesn’t go and doesn’t get it,” the Belfast source added.
The London job became available when Sir Ian Blair resigned in October — forced out by London Mayor Boris Johnson who made clear he wanted to see a “change of leadership”.