Could the next Scotland Yard chief come from Scotland?

The Chief Constable of Strathclyde, Stephen House, has support across the political spectrum in Scotland, as well as in London, for the top job at the Metropolitan Police

Just a matter of weeks after Sir Paul Stephenson resigned as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and rumours are now circulating that Stephen House, Chief Constable of Strathclyde police is now tipped as favourite to take on the top job at Scotland Yard.

According to reports, both the Home Secretary and Mayor of London, Boris Johnson have formally asked House to apply for the job, key indicators of the support his application would have.

Outlining his background and track record, the Scotsman has explained:  

“Mr House, who moved to Strathclyde’s top job in 2007, is credited with taking a tough approach to violent crime in Glasgow city centre, initiating campaigns against domestic violence, sectarianism and football hooliganism and keeping a close watch on financial resources. He has also become a leading light in the drive for a single police force for Scotland, after a hesitant start.”

Reaction from across Scotland, from those of all parties and none has also been supportive of any bid by House to head the Met Police.

The Scottish Lib Dem councillor for example, Christopher Mason, a member of the Strathclyde Police Authority has explained:

“He’s amply qualified, he’s the right age, has the right experience of the Met and has the right ambition. He will want to distance the force from the phone-hacking scandal in every way he can, which will be a challenge, but he has the ambition to give it a go.”

 Picking up on his previous experience at Scotland Yard Mason continued:

“He was Cressida Dick’s boss, the officer in command of the operation on the day Jean Charles de Menezes was shot in July 2005 at Stockwell Tube station in London, but he was on leave that day. He well understands the command response.”

For Graeme Pearson meanwhile, a Scottish Labour MSP, member of the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee and the former Director General of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, House’s experiences in Strathclyde provides the experience needed to lead the UK’s largest police force. Quoted in the Scotsman he has argued:

“Being chief constable of Strathclyde Police is a demanding job. I think that, all too often, it is thought that policing the capital city of London itself is real kudos and enough to make a fist of the top job. Some rise up through the system without encouraging challenges. This in not the case in Strathclyde.”

For the Scottish Government, careful to argue that it was not their responsibility to comment on who should lead the Met, a spokesperson did describe House as an “excellent Chief Constable”.

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