New London police chief is no-nonsense crime fighter

12th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Bernard Hogan-Howe is a crime fighter who cut his teeth in one of Britain's toughest cities and is now facing the multiple challenges of being London's police chief with the 2012 Olympic Games looming.

The new commissioner of the Metropolitan Police lived up to his reputation as a non-nonsense copper with his brief speech accepting the job as Britain's most senior policemen, saying he wanted to spark fear in the hearts of criminals.

"I intend to lead the Met so that it makes criminals fear," as well as holding the trust of the public and its 32,500 police officers and thousands of other staff, he told reporters outside Scotland Yard headquarters in London.

"And now I would like to go in and start work," he said.

In his new job, Hogan-Howe has responsibility for the safety of 7.2 million residents in the capital, which has all the problems expected of such a sprawling city as well as the threat of terrorism following the 2005 attacks by Al-Qaeda.

By far the biggest job however will be overseeing security operations for the Olympics next year.

Hogan-Howe has a proven track record on crime, cutting it by a third in his five years as police chief of Liverpool, a city in northwest England that shares many of the same problems of violent crime as London.

Hogan-Howe was an advocate of zero tolerance, particularly when it came to people carrying weapons, arguing that families that shield gun criminals from the police should be evicted from their homes.

In 2009, Hogan-Howe joined the Inspectorate of Constabulary, which assess police forces, focusing on serious and organised crime and counter-terrorism -- both vital aspects of his new job in London.

When a crisis over phone hacking led to a vacancy at the top of Scotland Yard in July, he was parachuted in as temporary deputy assistant commissioner in the force where he had spent three years as assistant commissioner from 2001 to 2004.

He has now beaten the man who served as temporary Met commissioner, Tim Godwin, to the top job after wooing government ministers and the major of London.

Although he may not yet be well-known in London, Hogan-Howe has a talent for self-promotion. A keen horse-rider, he famously escorted a Grand National winner into the winner's enclosure at Aintree in 2006.

Born in Sheffield in northern England in 1957, Hogan-Howe worked as a lab assistant before joining the South Yorkshire Police in 1979, which sent him to study law at Oxford.

He served as assistant chief constable of Liverpool's Merseyside police from 1997 to 2001, and then returned three years later to take the top job. Now, seven years on, he has reached the pinnacle of his career.

© 2011 AFP

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