With the Metropolitan police commissioner, Cressida Dick, resigning from her post after a series of scandals, the chance to lead Britain’s biggest police force has come up much sooner than expected.
Here are some of the most likely candidates to take over a beleaguered Scotland Yard.
The chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council and a former senior Met officer who joined policing from the armed forces. Some in the Conservative party are keen on the idea of policing taking in more people with military backgrounds. He has also spent plenty of time with ministers during the pandemic, which could be a plus or a minus.
Until recently, the assistant commissioner was the head of counter-terrorism. Basu, the most senior police officer of Asian heritage, would be the first minority ethnic commissioner. He is widely seen as capable, and is mostly well thought of, but irked No 10, who believe his criticism in a Guardian interview of Boris Johnson’s previous comments on race were harsh. He is also a strong candidate to be the next head of the National Crime Agency, but the Met is his first love. If the home secretary wants reform, would a Met lifer be the choice – and if so, can Johnson forgive him?
The chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), also a former Met assistant commissioner, could be the shock and awe candidate for the job. He is feared by some in the rank and file, and more so by middle ranks. He has come with an acerbic reputation from the past, but friends insist he has mellowed, and his experience in the PSNI may have stood him in good stead for the complexity of the Met. He would promise reform, which could descend into rancour.
Another assistant commissioner in the Met, and currently acting head of counter-terrorism. Unlike Dick, who had never run her own force before the Met, Jukes was the chief of South Wales police, covering a busy and demanding patch.
A leader and specialist on tackling violence against women, the Met assistant commissioner came from being deputy in the West Midlands, and is highly regarded within policing.
The chief of West Midlands police is standing down this year. He is a strong candidate, but has expressed reluctance to take it on and may prefer being chief of the policing inspectorate instead.
A former chief of Merseyside police, now with the policing inspectorate, is another possible candidate. No Met experience, but skilled in tackling violence and organised crime.