Page last updated at 13:40 GMT, Sunday, 6 September 2009 14:40 UK

Met must be 'free from politics'

Sir Hugh Orde
Sir Hugh Orde said the Met must be accountable, not controlled

The Metropolitan Police must not be "politically driven", one of the UK's most senior officers has said.

Sir Hugh Orde, head of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), said it was vital the force was free to operate completely independently.

The comments come after Kit Malthouse, London's Deputy Mayor for Policing, said the Conservatives had their "hands on the tiller" of the force.

Commissioner Paul Stephenson insisted no political party controlled the Met.

The controversy was stoked when, after becoming elected Mayor of London, Boris Johnson became chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), the independent body which scrutinizes the force.

Following pressure from the mayor, Commissioner Sir Ian Blair resigned and was replaced by Sir Paul Stephenson.

Sir Hugh insisted the Met must be accountable but not controlled.

"I think that's the debate," he said.

"How accountable we can be held while allowing us the freedom to operate in a completely independent way, free of any suggestion that what we're doing is politically driven rather than professionally driven."

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