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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 January 2004, 12:01 GMT
Profile: Sir John Stevens
Sir John Stevens
Sir John Stevens reviewing his officers
If he is known for anything, then Sir John Stevens is known for being the straight-talking police chief.

The UK's most senior policeman, Sir John has held numerous posts across the country's police forces before he was named Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in 1999.

Sir John has been a policeman for 40 years and was knighted in 2000. After graduating with a degree in law, his first posting was as a beat officer with the Metropolitan Police in north London's Tottenham.

He quickly began to rise through the ranks and has received 27 commendations for his detective work.

In 1986 he left London for a senior posting in Hampshire, before then going on to Cambridgeshire.

Northern Ireland

It was during his time as Deputy Chief Constable at Cambridgeshire in 1989 that he was asked to begin his first of three inquiries into the security forces in Northern Ireland.

That inquiry led the police chief into the murky world of Northern Ireland's security forces and the war being fought in the shadows of the Troubles.

In September 1991, Sir John became Chief Constable of Northumbria and completely overhauled the force, something which is credited as having helped cut crime by 42% over five years.

One of his key policies was to try to place police officers of all ranks closer to the communities they sought to serve, meaning that both civilians and policemen and women had a better idea of each others needs.

This approach almost certainly helped land Sir John the top job in London, where he continues to work on its community relations with minority communities in the wake of the 1999 Steven Lawrence Inquiry.

Sir John's second inquiry in Northern Ireland began in 1993, but it was his third appointment in 1999 that was the most critical - to focus on the killing of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.


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