Orde is a runner for the Met

I ‘d been interviewing Sir John Stevens about his celebrated Report when I first met Hugh Orde in New Scotland Yard on the day his appointment as Chief Constable was announced. He seemed like Lewis to Steven’s Morse, (it’s terrible when even chief constables seem young). I got to know him slightly as an easy and friendly communicator even when he wasn’t telling you anything much. I wondered how he’d fare in the political vipers’ nest that was post-Agreement Northern Ireland. My verdict has to be, very well. Should he now take his old mentor’s post? Well, his experience of accountability is unmatched, direct to a Prime Minister, a Secretary of State, a Police Oversight Commissioner. a Police Ombudsman, a Policing Board- and eventually one day, a Policing Minister of whatever title, plus the accompanying Assembly committee . So you could say he’s handled politicians a lot more contrary than Boris Johnson. Is he keen on the top job? Is the Pope a Catholic? Saying he would wait and see what happens after seven years in post sounds like a job application to me – and to be fair, he’s never hidden his ambition for it. How is he as a commander? From what I can gather, he wasn’t quite “ one of us,” as an Englishman. But then his Englishness had its uses as he was building a virtually new force, based on the highly controversial 50:50 recruitment principle from the Patten reforms. If you can navigate round the elephant traps of NI’s kind of diversity you can tackle the English equivalent. How good was he at tackling crime? Reported crime may only scratch the surface, but he makes a vigorous defence of the fledgling force’s record. What about gaffes and banana skins? He survived trial by media for the standard tabloid offence, hardly the first cop to fall in that way. What could be more damaging with the right is his curious remarks about talking to al Qaida. In one sense of course the job is much easier now. Mercifully he and the whole community have been spared another Omagh, although low-intensity terrorism dogs us yet. (Ironically Ronnie Flanagan is mentioned as a possible runner but the legacy of Omagh and his present supervisory role would I guess rule him out, although he would be excellent in the job).

The Chief Constable role is more political than ever, balanced between the two camps. Orde was able to act as ring master to full IRA decommissioning and take the politicians with him. Remarkably no call to resign seems to have stuck. For NI’s sake, should he stay or should he go? The PSNI have one more big reform left to digest, the devolution of policing and justice. Now might be the time to appoint a NI -born chief before the powers are transferred so that all parties can face up to the full reality of policing by Irishmen and women. For the London job, Orde has had good practice in drawing the line between accountability and political interference. In the circumstances of Ian Blair’s resignation, that certainly runs in his favour. Somehow though, I feel his time is not this time.

  • Rory

    It would be so easy for an overworked officer of the Met to mistake Boris on his bike during rush hour for a crazed Finlander intent upon shooting up a local college and in order to protect the public……

    Sorry, just working on a fictional scenario where a new Met Commissioner finds himself at odds with the Boss.

  • Half Pint

    “ring master to full IRA decommissioning”
    One word Brian – Lisnaskea

    Orde is a disgrace. A political policeman who championed the cause of provos in policing partnerships. Sooner we ate shot of him the better.

  • It all raises more questions about GMP Chief Constable Mike Todd’s mysterious death – what former Met Chief Sir Ian Blair helped accomplish by not alerting rescue services about his being on Snowdon during that terrible storm, and resulting in his death – what Todd had gone to in order to celebrate something, as the bottle of champagne he took with him indicated.

    Todd’s belated inquest could have been even more embarrassing to Ian Blair than the Jean de Menezes one.

    Then former RUC Chief Constable Ronnie Flanagan – the guy who helped the Omagh bombers, and helped them escape justice – as HM’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary, ordered another leading police officer to investigate whether Todd’s alleged womanizing had interferred with the performance as a police officer, as if the deceased had not already suffered enough.

    Todd was the leading candidate to take Blair’s place, and little wonder that he wanted the no-nosense police officer dead.

    Given all this importance of politicized policing now in the UK, Orde should have the inside track in replacing Blair.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Orde has been excellent – he has hardly put a foot wrong whilst clearly obeying political orders some of which were presumably against his own opinions.

    The only problem is the successor thing – pobably best to get another ‘foreigner’ from mainland or ROI or further afield.

  • ciaran

    excellent in what way exactly?In immediatley blaming the Ira on the northern bank robbery and to date offering absoutly no proof to back up that claim.

  • And don’t forget that Hugh Orde locked up Sean Kelly again at Sir John Stevens’ suggestion, thinking that he might well be Al-Qaeda’s bomb man in the run-up to the 3/11 Madrid bombings – what resulted in British securocrats being wrongly confident that it could not pull off anything in Europe.

    Then Sir Ian claimed that at least Islamic terrorists could not pull off anything like that in Britain just before the 7/7 bombings.

    The guy was hopelessly out of touch when it came to seriously policing in today’s world, and Boris Johnson was quite right to force his ouster when he got the chance. It was not a Tory plot, but getting rid of a chief who long deserved being shown the exit.

    Orde’s chances have still improved since I last wrote as Sir Norman Bettison has now withdrawn from the contest, claiming he wants no part of political policing.

    If that was truly the case, why would he have ever wanted the job since it has been most policized during Blair’s most unsuccessful tenure?

  • Driftwood

    Time for Orde to go
    Joe Kinnear would be well placed to combine the CC job here with his present one. He would get on well with all the boards..
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2008/oct/03/newcastleunited.premierleague

  • In re-reading my last post, I notice that I misstated the timing of Sean Kelly’s rearrest – it occurred in June just before the 7/7 bombings, not before the 3/11 bombings in Madrid, though the error does not change much, as these two articles show:

    http://codshit.blogspot.com/2005/07/just-who-is-lord-stevens-of.html

    http://codshit.blogspot.com/2005/07/perfect-conspiracy-london-bombings.html

    Just shows again that one should not just rely upon one’s memory when stating some significant about the past.

  • And why did Ian Blair’s special team investigating the brutal 1987 murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan aka The Invincibles infilitrate the defence of his apparent killers? Was it to make sure that it did not succeed? And was this because it would open up the whole can of worms surrounding the deadly dispute between Captain Simon Hayward and ‘Steak knife’, starting with the murder, it seems, of his sister-in-law, Chantal Hayward?

    For more on what any successor of Blair still faces, see this link:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/met-chiefs-squad-used-illegal-informant-847471.html

    Talk about politicized police!

  • And now that the Met’s Chief Commissioner Ian Blair – the guy who has completely compromised the investigation of the state-killing of private detective Daniel Morgan, and did nothing to save Invincible competitor for his job, GMP’s Chief Constable Mike Todd, from death when he was so alerted, quite likely from misadventure – has gone to the sidelines, the North West Wales Coroner Dewi Prithcard-Jones has quickly ruled that the copper’s cop died from exposure – what everyone already knew.

    Instead of calling all the involved witnesses in this most complicated case to testify, the coroner simply turned the inquiry over to Det. Sgt. Kevin Evans who claimed that Todd’s computer files and text messages showed that he simply killed himself. What reminds one of what Professor Keith Hawton provided the Hutton Inquiry about Dr. David Kelly’s alleged suicide.

    Still Pritchard-Jones opted for the easy way out, simply stating that Todd died from exposure, leaving the real cause of death to be determined by an ongoing West Midland criminal investigation.

    Why all the hurry by the coroner? Why not examine all the witnesses, including HM’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary Sir Ronnie Flanagan – the guy who ordered the fixing up of Todd because of all his shagging – and former GMP CID chief Bernard Postles, the guy Todd sacked because of the murder of Stephen Oake and failed to alert rescue authorities of Todd’s problems on Mount Snowdown.

    It all looks like a rerun of the Hutton fiasco in a different key to me!

    If I were Orde, I wouldn’t take the position for all the money in China.

  • Here is a quite poor article by Brian Rowan about whether Sir Hugh Orde will take Sir Ian Blair’s place as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police:

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/will-sir-hugh-answer-to-boris-when-itrsquos-london-calling-13995310.html

    Sir Hugh has already shown that he can deal with the politicians, obliging SoS Peter Hain to rearrest Sean Kelly back in June 2005 on suspicion of his being Al-Qaeda’s bombmaker in the UK – what turned out to be an utter fiasco after Blair issued early on 7/7 the most fullsome assurance that no serious terrorism would occur, and Rowan somehow makes no mention of.

    Do these guys do any research for their articles?

    Of course, this makes Orde’s appointment more problematic even if he still wants the job. Then he will have to deal with all the blowback from Blair’s other conniving – e .g ., the infiltration of the prosecution of Daniel Morgan’s murder, apparently to make sure that it doesn’t succeed; the taping of Mike Todd’s relationship with former Met employee Tracy Clarke in order to get him out of London, Todd’s still unexplained killing, the fallout from the needless murder of Jean Charles de Menezes, strikes by police, the charges of racism, etc., ad nauseam.

    Northern Ireland looks increasingly preferable under the circumstances, and if Orde has any sense, he will seek to stay there.