The search for a new Met commissioner has kicked into a new gear: an ad placed in Police Review magazine by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith seeks someone with an "outstanding record" in tackling terrorism. There's some dissension in the ranks, however, over the next Commissioner's character. Kit Malthouse, the deputy mayor of policing, suggested at a Policy Exchange debate last night that the next person in charge should be "pretty boring". Not from Boring, Oregon, but, y'know, boring. Dull. Sensible shoes, neat sock drawer, well-thumbed cricketers almanac tucked safely into pocket of tweed trousers, a conversational black hole. That sort of boring.
Sir Ian Blair, booted out by Boris in October, was heavily criticised for his political correctness and love of the limelight, which - combined with a steady supply of cock-ups and scandals - shredded his authority and made him a hate-figure among tabloid windbags. Malthouse's view that the next Commish should be wary of the "often grey line between politics and policing" is a reminder to avoid the cumbersome footprints Blair often tramped on that area.
Yet such comments will infuriate Smith as much as they did senior officers present at the debate, who argued that a lifeless "numbers man" would be unable to inspire his force and would result in unengaged, lacklustre policing.
Current favourites for the gig include deputy commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson, Northern Ireland chief constable Sir Hugh Orde, and current head of the National Policing Improvement Agency, Peter Neyroud, who all but confirmed his status as a bore of the highest order by declaring "I'm one of many he'd like to do it". Fine candidates as these are, we think the Met would be better off by sticking the following ad in Guardian Soulmates:
Humbled, leaderless police force WLTM new man for powerful position. Must be kind to children, animals and minorities, and most importantly, MUST BE BORING!! Wits need not apply. RSVP to Scotland Yard