Met Police chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe given one-year contract extension


Britain's most senior police officer Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has been handed a one-year extension to his contract.

The Scotland Yard chief, who has come under fire over the force's handling of historic abuse allegations, will now remain in the post until at least September 2017.

Home Secretary Theresa May announced that she recommended that the Queen approve a one-year extension to Sir Bernard's contract, which was due to expire in September.

She said: "My recommendation recognises the vital work the Commissioner has done in fighting crime and in reforming the Metropolitan Police Service. He has been at the forefront of the vital and important challenge of policing London at a time of heightened security.

"The extension enables Sir Bernard to continue his programme of reform of the Metropolitan Police Service and the vital task of cutting crime and keeping London safe."

Mrs May said the extension to September 25 next year "provides continuity" for the Met during a change of political leadership in London.

A new mayor will be elected in the capital in May.

Legislation allows for an initial extension of up to three years, which can then be followed by unlimited one-year extensions.

The Home Secretary said the extension will give the new mayor "the opportunity to take an informed view about any recommendation they may wish to make about the longer term leadership of the organisation, after they take office".

Sir Bernard said: "I am proud to continue as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and proud of the confidence shown in the way my officers and staff work day and night to keep London safe and catch criminals."

The current mayor Boris Johnson hailed the announcement as "good news for the Met and for London".

He said: "Over the last five years Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe and his dedicated officers and staff have overseen a significant drop in overall crime and kept the city safe in the face of the heightened terror threat.

"At the same time confidence in the force has significantly improved. I have a high regard for Bernard's abilities and he will now have a good chunk of time to keep crime coming down and to work closely with the new Mayor."

The decision on the commissioner's future has been the subject of intense scrutiny after the Met came under fire over its investigation into D-Day veteran Lord Bramall.

On Wednesday Sir Bernard launched a judge-led review into Scotland Yard's handling of historical sexual allegations against public figures.

However, he has refused to apologise to Lord Bramall. The 92-year-old was last month cleared of sexual abuse almost nine months after he was interviewed under caution as part of the hugely controversial Operation Midland.

His home had been raided while he had breakfast with his terminally ill wife.

Sir Bernard told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I can't really apologise for investigating a serious allegation and that is what we have done.

"I have expressed regret and it's a genuine regret, if he, Lord Bramall, or his family have been damaged in this process, in this investigation."

He also said detectives investigating historical sex claims should not be ordered to believe alleged victims "unconditionally" in the future

Operation Midland, which had cost £1.8 million as of November last year, centred on allegations by a man known as "Nick", which were described by a detective at the time as "credible and true".

Met Commissioner Announces Abuse Review