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Ex Merseyside Police Boss Called To Solve Mayhem At The Met

Sir Bernard Hogan Howe drafted into the Yard in latest Mersey link with Wapping

Written by . Published on July 19th 2011.

Ex Merseyside Police Boss Called To Solve Mayhem At The Met

LIKE a latter day Wyatt Earp, horseriding Bernard Hogan Howe, Chief Constable of Merseyside until 2009, will today canter into Scotland Yard to help in the process of cleaning up the Met.

He has been “borrowed” from his current job at the HM Inspectorate of Constabulary to work at the Metropolitan Police as temporary Deputy Commissioner.

As I got to know him, I realised Merseyside
was fortunate enough to have one
of the best coppers in the country

It must make BHH a contender for the top job as Commissioner – and he did go for it last time - following the resignation of another ex-Merseyside copper, Sir Paul Stephenson.

Liverpool College-educated Brian LevesonInquiry leader: Liverpool College
educated Brian Leveson
It’s a remarkable turn of events for the no-nonsense Yorkshireman who initially became an Assistant Chief Constable in 1997, before heading to the Met two years later, only to return to Merseyside to take the top job in 2004.

In Liverpool he made a name for himself with his Total Policing Strategy, aimed at declaring war on crime across Merseyside. Zero tolerance was his approach to crime, once arguing that people who shielded gun criminals should be evicted from their homes.

He even called for the legal age for drinking alcohol should be raised from 18 to 21. Once he chased a wrongdoer on foot, perhaps the only occasion ever a criminal had been collared by a Chief Constable.

He saw crime reduced by a third, with Merseyside seizing more criminal assets than any other provincial force in the UK. His anti-gun Matrix unit saw criminals put behind bars for 600 years.

He admitted his toughest call in Merseyside was the murder of Rhys Jones.

I got to know BHH quite well when we both served as commissioners on a health body set up by the University of Liverpool.

Rebekah Brooks, Warrington's most famous secretary since Eileen BiltonRebekah Brooks, Warrington's
most famous secretary
since Eileen Bilton
He took a deep interest in the wellbeing of his extensive manor, but my first encounter with him got off to a shaky start.

Hearing he was to brief the police authority on the cancellation of the Mathew Street Festival I rushed to the meeting to capture his words. He spoke so quickly (after being told I was sat at the back) that I joked I’d never known a police chief able to speak in tongues.

He agreed to see me later at his safe, inner sanctum in Canning Place with an agreement that no notes would be made. Placing my notebook and pen on a coffee table, he glanced down: but we had an understanding. Of course we did, I replied, I’m not Rita Skeeter from Harry Potter with a book that can make its own notes.

He didn’t laugh, and instead replied he’d never met me and didn’t know if I could be trusted. Likewise, I told him.

As I got to know him, I realised Merseyside was fortunate enough to have one of the best coppers in the country.

His participation in the fallout from the hacking scandal is yet another of those twists that put Merseyside people close to the centre stage of the NOTW sensational events.

Last week the latest local person to join the media circus was Liverpool born Sir Brian Leveson, the Appeal Court judge who will head the public inquiry into the phone-hacking scandal.

The last editor of the News of the World was Colin Myler, the Widnes-born journalist who was traditionally “banged-out” on Saturday night as the final edition came off the presses.

There is no suggestion at all that well-respected journalist Myler is involved in any way in the scandal. He only took over the editor’s seat a few years ago.

Dingle boy David WoodingPolitical Editor: Dingle boy
David Wooding
Another local journalist given a high profile is the NOTW’s political editor David Wooding, again a well respected writer and commentator. Wooding was born in Liverpool and brought up close to the Welsh Street area in the Dingle.

He took over the seat from another local rising star in the NOTW, Ian Kirby, whose father Albert is the high-profile Merseyside detective who investigated the Bulger case.

Feelings in the city, regarding the Murdoch stable of newspapers, have, of course, run high for many years. Indeed Chris Bascombe, the Echo sports writer, was threatened by Liverpool football fans in 2007 when he joined the now defunct Sunday tabloid.

And what of Rebekah Brooks, 43, who was born just outside Runcorn in the Alice in Wonderland village of Daresbury? She went to a girl’s grammar school in Warrington and began her media career as a secretary with Eddie Shah’s newspaper outfit, the short lived Post, in the same town.

Lord Justice Leveson, who  is in his early 60s, is one of the best known lawyers in the country, and a prominent member of Liverpool’s Jewish community. He went to Liverpool College, becoming a barrister in his early 20s. For a time was a lecturer at the University of Liverpool’s Law School. Until a few years ago he was the presiding judge of the northern circuit, before climbing the legal ladder to become one of the country’s top appeal judges. In 2007 he was awarded an honorary doctorate of law from the University of Liverpool.

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