Belfast Telegraph

Hugh Orde to apply for policing's top job

By Brian Rowan

Former PSNI Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde will compete for Britain's top police post - with confirmation of his decision expected today. 00

Noon is the deadline for applications for Metropolitan Police Commissioner - the most senior job in British policing.

And this newspaper understands it is "highly likely" that Orde, President of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), will be in the field.

Two years ago, he was edged out by Sir Paul Stephenson.

Yesterday, The Times reported that two veteran officers had emerged as front-runners for the post - Stephen House, Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police, and the former Chief Constable of Merseyside, Bernard Hogan-Howe.

The newspaper said Sir Hugh was still considering his options.

But the Belfast Telegraph understands that having now done that, he will join the race.

Recently he has been in the headlines and the news criticising policing cuts, and commenting on the hacking scandal, the UK riots and, in the fall-out from those, Prime Minister David Cameron's decision to turn to American "supercop" Bill Bratton for advice.

As ACPO President Orde has defended the operational independence of the police and made clear his thinking on political interference. And it means he is now viewed by some in high politics as a thorn in the side of Downing Street.

He had long service with the Met before being appointed Chief Constable of the PSNI in 2002 - a post he held for seven years.

Recently, a former senior colleague Peter Sheridan told the Belfast Telegraph: "If he decides to go for it [the Met job], it will be because he sees himself as the best candidate."

And Sheridan believed his experience here would be important with the London Olympics now just a year away.

"In his counter-terrorism role he was a solid thinker and that gives him the experience to manage the potential threats that could arise in the period of the Olympics," Sheridan commented.

Orde's role here also gave him valuable experience at that police-politics interface - a place where often there is confrontation and standoff, and heated debates about independence and interference.

Sir Hugh Orde began his career with the Metropolitan Police in 1977 and rose to become a deputy assistant commissioner in 1999. In 2002 he was appointed as chief constable of the PSNI. During his seven-year tenure, he oversaw the reforming of the force after the Good Friday Agreement.

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