London

Met chief Hogan-Howe's contract extended by year

bernard hogan-howe Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption Sir Bernard has been commissioner since 2011

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe will head the Metropolitan Police until September 2017, after his contract was extended by a year.

Home Secretary Theresa May said the extension of his role as commissioner would "provide continuity" for the Met.

The next mayor of London would have the chance to "take an informed view" about the force's leadership, she said.

The announcement follows recent criticism of the Met for its handling of sex abuse allegations.

Operation Midland, which looks at claims that boys were abused by powerful men from politics, the military and law enforcement agencies in the 1970s and 80s, is the focus of particular criticism,

The force's record will be scrutinised in a review led by an ex-judge.

Sir Bernard told BBC Radio 4's Today programme police would no longer automatically believe complainants who reported historical sex abuse, but would be "open-minded" and "empathetic".

'Vital work'

Mrs May said she recognised "the vital work the commissioner has done in fighting crime and in reforming the Metropolitan Police Service".

"He has been at the forefront of the vital and important challenge of policing London at a time of heightened security," she said.

Sir Bernard said he was "proud to continue" in the role "and proud of the confidence shown in the way my officers and staff work day and night to keep London safe and catch criminals."

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "This is good news for the Met and for London. Over the last five years Bernard Hogan-Howe and his dedicated officers and staff have overseen a significant drop in overall crime and kept the city safe in the face of the heightened terror threat.

"At the same time confidence in the force has significantly improved."

The new mayor will take office in May.

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