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Bernard Hogan-Howe

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe
Hogan-Howe speaking in 2012
Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
Assumed office
12 September 2011
Deputy Tim Godwin
Craig Mackey
Preceded by Sir Paul Stephenson
Personal details
Born Bernard Howe
(1957-10-25) 25 October 1957
Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England
Nationality British
Spouse(s) Marion, née White
Residence London
Alma mater Merton College, Oxford
Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge
University of Sheffield
Profession Policeman

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, QPM (born 25 October 1957) is the present Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis (head of London's Metropolitan Police).

Born in Sheffield, he joined the South Yorkshire Police in 1979, becoming District Commander of the Doncaster West area, as well as obtaining university qualifications in law and criminology. In 1997, he transferred to Merseyside Police as Assistant Chief Constable for Community Affairs, moving on to area operations. He then joined the Metropolitan Police as Assistant Commissioner for personnel, before being appointed Chief Constable of Merseyside Police.

After two years as an Inspector of Constabulary, Hogan-Howe was briefly Acting Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police before being appointed Commissioner in September 2011. He once dramatically interrupted an interview, in order to apprehend a criminal in person, and later made the controversial decision not to arrest protestors carrying an ISIS flag.

Hogan-Howe was knighted in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to policing.


  • Early life and career 1
  • Commissioner 2
    • Failure to arrest enemy supporters 2.1
    • Institutional racism 2.2
  • Police Roll of Honour Trust 3
  • Honours and awards 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life and career

Hogan-Howe was born in Sheffield, the son of Bernard Howe. He attended Hinde House School, a dual primary and secondary school, where he completed his A-levels. He was brought up single-handedly by his mother, whose surname of Hogan he later added by deed poll. After leaving school, he spent four years working as a lab assistant in the National Health Service.[1]

He began his police career in 1979 with South Yorkshire Police and rose to be District Commander of the Doncaster West area. In 1997, he transferred to Merseyside Police as Assistant Chief Constable for Community Affairs, moving onto area operations in 1999. Hogan-Howe then once again transferred this time to the Metropolitan Police as Assistant Commissioner for personnel, July 2001–2004.[2] He was then appointed Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, 2005-9.[3][4]

Whilst still with South Yorkshire Police, he was identified as a high-flier and selected to study for a MA degree in Law at Merton College,[5] University of Oxford, which he began at the age of 28.[6] He later went on to gain a postgraduate diploma in Applied Criminology from the University of Cambridge and an MBA from the University of Sheffield.[7][8]

On Merseyside, Hogan-Howe had called for a "total war on crime"[3] and argued that the health and safety case which was successfully brought against the Metropolitan Police after the de Menezes shooting was restrictive of allowing the police to do their work.[9] He had also called for a review of the decision to downgrade cannabis from a class B to a class C drug.[10] He thereafter served as one of Her Majesty's Inspectors of Constabulary, 2009–2011.[11]

On 18 July 2011, the Home Secretary announced Hogan-Howe's temporary appointment as Acting Deputy Commissioner following the resignation of the Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson, and the appointment of the incumbent Deputy Commissioner as Acting Commissioner. During that period, a decision was made within the department of professional standards to use the Official Secrets Act to compel The Guardian to reveal its sources regarding the News International phone hacking scandal. The order was swiftly rescinded five days prior to Hogan-Howe's formal term of office.[12]


Hogan-Howe applied for the position of Commissioner himself in August 2011 along with other candidates,[13] and was successful in being selected for the post on 12 September 2011 after appearing before a panel of the Home Secretary and the Mayor of London and receiving the approval of the chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority, before he was formally appointed by the Queen, with effect from 26 September.[14]

In 2013, Hogan-Howe was criticised for defending police officers who had, according to an appeal court ruling, used "inhuman and degrading treatment", in breach of the Human Rights Act, when handling an autistic boy in a swimming pool. The criticism was specifically directed against the money spent on the appeal and his refusal to apologise and to improve training police officers for the humane treatment of disabled people.[15] In September 2012, Hogan-Howe did ask an independent commission headed by Lord Adebowale to review cases where people with a mental illness died or were harmed after contact with police. The report arrived in May 2013[16] and contained severe criticism; Hogan-Howe responded to the commission's recommendations with a plan for change, announced in June 2014.[17]

On 11 August 2014, Hogan-Howe made his first arrest as commissioner. The commissioner had to pause a pre-recorded interview with Eddie Nester on BBC London 94.9 in Tottenham when a taxi driver said his passengers were refusing to pay their fare, at which point four men jumped out of the minicab and ran away. Hogan-Howe got into the minicab in pursuit with another officer. PC Gledhill managed to arrest one suspect on suspicion of theft, handling stolen goods and making off without payment. The Commissioner then got into a police car in an attempt to embark on a search for three other suspects. One of the suspects was seen nearby and arrested by the Commissioner on suspicion of theft and making off without payment.

Failure to arrest enemy supporters

In the wake of the 2015 Sousse attacks, a father and his young daughter paraded at Parliament Square with the flag of ISIS. Hogan-Howe supported his men after they had refused to arrest the pair,[18] and said that carrying an Isil flag is 'not necessarily the worst thing in the world' and should not lead to an automatic arrest. He appeared not to remember the words of the Prime Minister, who had written the previous year that "The position is clear. If people are walking around with Isil flags or trying to recruit people to their terrorist cause they will be arrested and their materials will be seized. We are a tolerant people, but no tolerance should allow the room for this sort of poisonous extremism in our country." A police spokesman had attempted to skirt the issue by pointing out a possible defect in the Public Order Act as if that were the only relevant legislation or standard of conduct.[19]

Hogan-Howe was later supported by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who said that 'we live in a free country' and that he did not support the banning of iconography associated with the extremist group.[20]

Institutional racism

In June 2015, Hogan-Howe said there was some justification in claims that the Metropolitan Police is institutionally racist.[21]

Police Roll of Honour Trust

In November 2013 Bernard Hogan-Howe took up the role of Patron of the national police charity the Police Roll of Honour Trust. He joined Stephen House and Hugh Orde as joint patrons.[22]

Honours and awards

Hogan-Howe was knighted in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to policing.[23]

Hogan-Howe's honours and decorations include:

Knight Bachelor 2013
Queen's Police Medal (QPM) 2002
Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal 2002
Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal 2012
Police Long Service and Good Conduct Medal 2001

On 14 November 2012, Hogan-Howe was awarded the degree of Doctor of the University (D.Univ) by Sheffield Hallam University.

On 15 July 2013, Hogan-Howe was awarded an honorary doctorate of Law (LLD) by the University of Sheffield.[24]


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  15. ^ Trauma of autistic boy shackled by police, by Yvonne Roberts, The Observer, Sunday 17 February 2013
  16. ^ Independent Commission on Mental Health and Policing Report
  17. ^ The Met’s New Approach To Recognising Mental Health
  18. ^ "Police let pair fly Isil flag outside Parliament", 6 Jul 2015
  19. ^ "Met Chief defies PMs call to arrest all Isil flag carriers", 6 Jul 2015
  20. ^ "Extremists are 'free' to fly Isil flags in London, says Boris Johnson", 8 Jul 2015
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External links

  • Official Metropolitan Police profile
  • Debrett's People of Today
Police appointments
Preceded by
Sir Norman Bettison
Chief Constable of Merseyside Police
Succeeded by
Bernard Lawson (Acting)
Preceded by
Sir Paul Stephenson
Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
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