Dame Lynne Owens said she was not applying for the role but did not want to reveal her reasons, but they are not health-related and she is still 'looking for my next career challenge'
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Dame Lynne Owens said she was not applying for the role but did not want to reveal her reasons, but they are not health-related and she is still 'looking for my next career challenge'

Dame Lynne Owens said she was not applying for the role but did not want to reveal her reasons, but they are not health-related and she is still ‘looking for my next career challenge’ 

The former director general of the National Crime Agency has ruled herself out of the running for Met Police commissioner – as applications are due to close tomorrow. 

Dame Lynne Owens had led the National Crime Agency – dubbed ‘Britain’s FBI’ – from 2016 until last October.

She had been seen as the natural successor to the Scotland Yard top job until she retired on health grounds last autumn. She has now fully recovered from cancer.

But Dame Lynne said she was not applying for the Met role today. She did not want to reveal her reasons, other than saying they are not health-related and she is still ‘looking for my next career challenge’. 

Home Office officials have been contacting chief constables to ask them to apply to become the new Met Police commissioner amid fears the botched ousting of Dame Cressida Dick could put people off.

Dame Cressida quit in February after losing the support of London mayor Sadiq Khan, who said publicly after a string of scandals that he no longer felt she could restore trust and confidence in the force.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has ordered an inquiry into how her departure was handled over concerns that due process was not followed.

Now, a string of senior officers have been ‘tapped on the shoulder’ to apply in order to widen the field of candidates, sources told The Times.

Dame Lynne posted on Twitter today: ‘The deadline for @metpoliceuk Commissioner applications is tomorrow. To prevent speculation & in the interests of transparency I’m not applying. 

Dame Cressida quit in February after losing the support of London mayor Sadiq Khan

Dame Cressida quit in February after losing the support of London mayor Sadiq Khan

‘I’m so grateful for the support I’ve had as I’ve worked through my decision.

Runners and riders for next Met commissioner  

Dame Lynn Owens – Widely admired and was seen as the natural successor to the Yard top job until she retired on health grounds last autumn.

Dame Lynne led the National Crime Agency – dubbed ‘Britain’s FBI’ – from 2016 until last October.

She has now fully recovered from cancer. Seen as a safe pair of hands, she is known to be a favourite of Home Secretary Priti Patel.

She ruled herself out of the running on May 3, a day before the deadline.  

Matt Jukes – Matt Jukes joined South Yorkshire police in 1995 three years after graduating with a degree in mathematics from Oxford.

He worked as a detective and rose through the ranks to represent UK police forces at G8 meetings and lead on national anti-terror strategy.

Mr Jukes is best known for tackling Rotherham grooming gangs while borough commander in the Yorkshire town from 2006 to 2010. He’s currently serving as an Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations

Sir Mark Rowley – A familiar figure after leading the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism operations for four years.

Although he resigned from the police in 2018, Sir Mark is still only 58 and sources believe he could be tempted back by the biggest job in British policing.

Served as chief constable of Surrey for three years to 2011, when he joined the Met as an assistant commissioner.

Lucy D’Orsi – Previously served as deputy assistant commissioner at the Met before moving to lead the British Transport Police in 2020, where she has impressed colleagues. 

Ian Livingstone – The non-nonsense head of Police Scotland for four years who impressed Boris Johnson with his effective policing operation at COP26 in Glasgow. 

Shaun Sawyer – The chief constable of Devon and Cornwall Police announced this weekend that he would stand down from his current role. He served in the Met for more than 20 years and is considered highly likely to apply.    

‘I do not intend to talk about my rationale other than to say it is not health related & I am actively looking for my next career challenge! I wish candidates every success – policing will always hold my (heart emoji).’

As well as being contacted by Home Office officials, chief constables have also been approached by Sophie Linden, Khan’s deputy mayor for policing, it is understood.

One senior officer said: ‘It’s not surprising they’ve been trying to get lots of people to apply. They want a decent field as it’s the most senior job in policing.

‘But the way Cress was treated, and the increasingly political nature of that job — it’s fair to say that’s turned a few people off.’

A Home Office source said: ‘We want to make sure that chief constables know they are welcome to apply, that we want to attract the best from across the country.’

Met chief Dame Cressida Dick left the job last week after five years, with her deputy Sir Stephen House temporarily taking the reins until a permanent successor is appointed in the summer.

Potential candidates for the post include former director general of the National Crime Agency Dame Lynne Owens and current Met Assistant Commissioner Matt Jukes.

Applications close on May 4.  

The Met has been mired in a series of incidents that have damaged public confidence, including deeply offensive messages shared by a team based at Charing Cross station and the strip-search of a black schoolgirl.

Dame Cressida admitted herself that Sarah Everard’s rape and murder by then-serving police officer Wayne Couzens had brought ‘shame’ on the force and damaged public confidence in police.

Britain’s most senior officer also failed to get a grip on a culture of racism, sexism and bullying that has haunted Scotland Yard for years.

The advert for her replacement states that it has become ‘evident that significant and sustained improvements need to be made within the MPS to restore public confidence and legitimacy in the largest police force in the UK.’

It continues: ‘This will require inspirational leadership to deliver a demonstrably more professional police force, that better reflects the diversity of London itself.’

The Met has also been heavily criticised by watchdogs the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) in recent months.

HMICFRS found that the Met’s approach to tackling corruption was not fit for purpose, and described storage of evidence by some teams as ‘dire’ with drugs, jewellery and money going missing and guns not properly secured.

Sir Mark Rowley is a familiar figure after leading the Metropolitan Police's counter-terrorism operations for four years.

Lucy D'Orsi has been praised for her work at the British Transport Police

Sir Mark Rowley is a familiar figure after leading the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism operations for four years, while Lucy D’Orsi has been praised for her work at the British Transport Police 

While the IOPC took the unusual step of publishing disturbing messages shared by the Charing Cross team – despite the fact that much of the content was too offensive to print in mainstream news coverage – as it detailed the ‘disgraceful’ behaviour of officers based in a now disbanded Westminster team between 2016 and 2018.

Matt Jukes is currently serving as an Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations

Matt Jukes is currently serving as an Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations

IOPC regional director Sal Naseem said that the issues raised were ‘not isolated or historic’.

Two inquiries, set up in the wake of the murder of Miss Everard, are being held into culture at the Met – an internally-commissioned probe led by Baroness Louise Casey, and a Home Office commissioned inquiry by Dame Elish Angiolini.

‘You will lead the service through significant change, role-modelling credible, visible and empowering leadership to address concerns around police conduct and tackling institutional culture.

‘The successful candidate will be responsible for re-establishing trust and confidence in policing amongst everyone living in London, particularly women and girls and those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.’

The role, considered the most senior police rank in the country, has a salary of £292,938 – almost twice as much as the Prime Minister.   



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