13 September 2011

London’s new Metropolitan Police Commissioner was named yesterday.  The appointment of Bernard Hogan-Howe will be made by the Queen on the joint  recommendation of the Home Secretary and the Mayor of London.  Although not regarded as the best candidate by two panels involved in the selection process,  Hogan-Howe apparently had the confidence of the Government.  He is the former Commissioner of Merseyside Police and has been an acting Deputy Commissioner at the Met since Sir Paul Stephenson resigned in July .  His attractiveness for the appointment flows from policing successes in Merseyside, where in his five years as the force commander, crime fell by 29% and antisocial behaviour by 25%.

Knowledgeable commentators report that the current President of the Association of Police Officers is better qualified. However  he recently irritated Ministers with public comments about the Government’s proposed police reforms and aggravated matters by debunking Ministerial criticism of the way police responded to rioting in a number of cities last month. There was no female candidate.

The Met has almost 50,000 sworn and civilian staff and more than 5,000 volunteer special constables, making it one of the largest police forces in the World. The Commissioner is paid the equivalent of NZ$400,000.  The Commissioner of the New York Police Department, with approximately 43,000 staff, earns the equivalent of NZ$330,000.  As an indication of how the job sizing of senior positions in New Zealand agencies has become misaligned with reality, the New Zealand Police Commissioner in 2009-2010 was reported in the State Services Commission annual report as receiving between $500,000 and $509,000. New Zealand Police has fewer than 11,599 employees.