Well that was one of the more bizarre resignations I have ever seen. Sir Paul Stephenson basically said that he had done nothing wrong, his integrity was intact and well, that’s about it. So why on earth would he resign? Just because of some rather weak allegations about his use of Champneys? Come off it. He can’t stand the heat so he’s getting out of the kitchen.
The thing is, Sir Paul Stephenson has a good record on crime fighting. Crime figures are down in London and that has happened under his leadership. Sure, the last few weeks have been intensely uncomfortable for everyone at the Metropolitan Police. It is a force under fire, but it is a force which needs clear leadership. Sir Paul has now left the Met rudderless. A new Commissioner will take some time to appoint, and it is unfortunate to say the least that the Met won’t have anyone who can properly put its case over the next few weeks. That is bound to affect morale in the force.
One consequence of his resignation will be to put John Yates under the microscope once again. Is his position any longer tenable? I think in all walks of life the media demands resignations all too easily nowadays, and I don’t want to see anyone’s career ended. I actually think Yates is a fine officer, who took his eye off the ball over phone hacking. But I predict the wolves will very shortly be at his door once again.
So, who should replace Sir Paul? Sir Hugh Orde and Bernard Hogan-Howe will be two leading contenders. It seems to me that the Home Secretary and Mayor may well think it a good idea to bring in someone from outside the Met and with no connection it, and give them a simple order – to clean house.
All this makes you wonder, who’s next?