Met chief's job will be advertised

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The Independent Online
THE JOB of Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police - worth up to pounds 138,500 a year - is to be advertised for the first time. Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, will make the appointment, but the selection panel is expected to include a leading member of the business world, reflecting the importance attached to the ability of the commissioner to manage the pounds 1.7bn budget.

The new commissioner is expected to be chosen by October and will take over from Sir Paul Condon when he stands down in January after seven years in the post.

The job of Commissioner of the Met is considered to be the most powerful police post in Britain. The appointment comes with it a nigh-on guaranteed knighthood and the chance to run one of the world's biggest forces, with 44,000 staff.

Only serving chief constables or equivalent ranks need apply. The job, which will be for a term of five years, will pay from pounds 121,300 to pounds 137,000 annually with an extra pounds 1,542 allowance for living in London.

The full selection panel has yet to be finalised, but it is expected to have four or five members, including David Omand, the Permanent Secretary at the Home Office, who will act as chairman, a member of the Metropolitan Police Committee, and a business leader. Jack Straw will not take part in drawing up the shortlist from the applicants, but will make the final choice.

The Home Office will place a job advertisement in Police Review magazine next Friday.

Stressing that the new commissioner could be a man or a woman, Mr Straw said the successful candidate would be responsible for overseeing the revolution of the force demanded by Sir William Macpherson of Cluny's report on the handling of the Stephen Lawrence murder hunt.

"This is undeniably a demanding and tough post. The foundations for change have been laid by Sir Paul Condon, who has achieved an enormous amount during his time as Commissioner," Mr Straw said.

Among the contenders for the post are the present Deputy Commissioner, John Stevens, 56, who is leading the Yard's anti-corruption battle and who is tipped as the current favourite. Mr Stevens is a former Chief Constable of Northumbria, where he established an impressive crime-fighting record.

Other likely candidates from inside the Met are Assistant Commissioner Denis O'Connor, 48, who is responsible for driving through the force's anti-racist policies, and Ian Johnston, 53, also an Assistant Commissioner.

From outside the Met, Ted Crew, 54, Chief Constable of the West Midlands, is considered a good bet. Tony Burden, 48, Chief Constable of South Wales, and David Phillips, 53, Chief Constable of Kent, are also in the running for the post.

Ian Blair, 45, the modernising Chief Constable of Surrey, is a late, if controversial contender. Bill Taylor, former Commissioner of the City of London force and the current Scottish Inspector of Constabulary, is an outside possibility.