Britain’s most senior Asian police officer pulls out of race to be NCA chief following reports Boris Johnson wants controversial former Met Chief to take the job
- Neil Basu made it into final two candidates in bid to succeed Dame Lynne Owens
- But he pulled out of the race to become the head of the National Crime Agency
- The news comes amid claims that Lord Hogan-Howe, who had applied for the job but did not make the final shortlist, was Boris Johnson’s preferred candidate
- Mr Basu is now reportedly considering launching an official complaint over the handling of the application process
Britain’s most senior Asian police officer has pulled out of the race to become the head of the National Crime Agency amid reports the Prime Minister wanted controversial former Met Chief Lord Hogan-Howe appointed to the role.
Neil Basu, the Met’s former head of counter-terrorism, had made it into the final two candidates in the bid to succeed Dame Lynne Owens as NCA director.
But he and the other shortlisted candidate – acting head of the NCA Graeme Biggar – were last week told that the application process was to begin again, but they were welcome to reapply, The Telegraph reports.
The news comes amid claims that Lord Hogan-Howe, who had applied for the job but did not make the final shortlist, was Boris Johnson’s preferred candidate.
Mr Basu is now reportedly considering launching an official complaint over the handling of the application process amid claims neither he nor Mr Biggar were told the reasons behind the decision.
A Home Office spokesman said that a fair recruitment campaign is underway to make the best possible appointment.
Lord Hogan-Howe – a close ally of the PM – applied for the £223,000-a-year role at the National Crime Agency (NCA) but failed to make it into the final round of candidates for the coveted role.
Neil Basu, the Met’s former head of counter-terrorism, had made it into the final two candidates in the bid to succeed Dame Lynne Owens as NCA director
But he and the other shortlisted candidate – acting head of the NCA Graeme Biggar (pictured) – were last week told that the application process was to begin again, but they were welcome to reapply, reports say
However, it is believed Downing Street have rejected two highly qualified police chiefs who were interviewed by the Home Secretary Priti Patel, reports The Times.
The bid to make the ex-Metropolitan Police Commissioner head of the NCA comes despite him being in charge when officers raided homes of leading Establishment figures as part of the force’s disastrous VIP paedophile ring probe.
If successful, Mr Hogan-Howe will succeed Graeme Biggar, the interim director-general of the NCA after Dame Lynne Owens retired from the position on health grounds in September last year.
During his time as head of Scotland Yard, Hogan-Howe was in charge of the force’s VIP abuse inquiry, which ruined the reputations of several public figures including retired Armed Forces chief and D-Day hero Field Marshal Lord Bramall, ex-home secretary Leon Brittan and former Tory MP Harvey Proctor.
The news comes amid claims that Lord Hogan-Howe, who had applied for the job but did not make the final shortlist, was Boris Johnson’s preferred candidate
Mr Hogan-Howe oversaw an inquiry about child sex abuse based on false claims targeted at Lady Brittan’s late husband Lord Brittan (pictured together)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson reportedly was unhappy that Lord Hogan-Howe was not initially shortlisted for the job (pictured together in 2012)
They were smeared by fantasist Carl Beech, known as ‘Nick’, whose lies were swallowed whole by the Met.
Earlier this week Lord Brittan’s widow has blasted moves to appoint the Scotland Yard chief who presided over the shambolic VIP child sex abuse inquiry as head of the National Crime Agency.
In a scathing attack, Lady Brittan – whose late husband was falsely accused of VIP sex abuse and murder by serial liar Carl ‘Nick’ Beech – said there is ‘little evidence’ that Bernard Hogan-Howe is a ‘suitable candidate’.
She called for the recruitment process for the director-general of the NCA to be transparent and ‘thoroughly’ consider candidates’ track records for the £223,000-a-year post.
Neil Basu: Britain’s most senior Asian heritage police officer
Neil Basu is the Metropolitan Police’s former head of counter-terrorism and he is the most senior serving British officer of Asian heritage.
He had served as the assistant commissioner for specialist operations until September 2021, which included responsibilities around national security, and had originally been tipped for the top job in 2017 before losing out to Dame Cressida.
In February this year, he called for laws in the Equality Act 2010 that restrict positive discriminations to be relaxed in order to boost the number of BAME recruits.
He was immediately shot down by policing minister Kit Malthouse, while Home Secretary Priti Patel was also said to be against the idea.
Mr Basu faced fresh accusations of meddling in politics in July 2019, when he threatened to prosecute journalists for publishing leaked cables from Britain’s ambassador to the US, Sir Kim Darroch.
Former Tory cabinet minister David Davis said the intervention ‘strayed well beyond his brief’, and represented an attack on the free Press.
A 2019 profile of Basu in the Mail On Sunday described him as well-liked within the force and by intelligence officials at MI5. But he has attracted criticism for some of his operational decisions, most notably as head of Operations Weeting, Elveden and Tuleta.
The three inquiries into phone hacking, computer hacking and alleged payments to police officers by newspapers cost around £19.5million and were criticised for criminalising journalists.
He became a Met police officer in 1992, serving first as a beat bobby in Battersea, South London, then swiftly moving through the ranks as a borough commander in Barnet, North London, and a Commander of South London in 2012.