This week sees the final interviews for the job of Met Commissioner. There are some truly outstanding people in the running.
And what awaits the successful candidate? Simply, the honour and responsibility of leading the finest police service in the world. The Met has its faults and failings of course – some of them grave – but it remains an extraordinary institution.
More than the institution though, there are the people – as fine a group of women and men as you could ever hope to meet. Some of them fall short, but most of them are about as remarkable as people can be: the everyday heroes and heroines who police our streets. It seems to me that serving them is the greatest leadership privilege of all.
The new Boss is going to arrive to a set of eye-watering challenges – a combination of operational and organisational demands the like of which policing has not seen in a generation and more. And they are not unique to London – policing the length and breadth of the country is feeling the strain.
I’ve written before about the need for police leaders to make some really difficult choices – and to have difficult conversations, not least with the public, about what we are able to take on with the resources available to us.
The choices (and accompanying need for conversations) can, at times, seem endless:
Between Emergencies and Engagement
Between the Frontline and the Back Office
Between Uniform and CID
Between the Past & the Present
Between Police Priorities and those of everyone else
Between People & Performance
These are challenging times for policing. The new Commissioner will need – and deserve – our support in taking on arguably the most challenging job in British policing.
The current Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, hosts his retirement function at Scotland Yard later this week. I wish him well for the future. After almost 38 years of public service, he’s earned a break.
And I wish his successor equally well too.
It’s one heck of a job.