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Lynne Gillian Owens, CBE, QPM (born 29 January 1969) is a British senior police officer. Since January 2016, she has served as Director-General of the National Crime Agency. As such, she is the one of the most senior law enforcement chiefs in British law enforcement.[1] She was Assistant Commissioner of Central and Territorial Operations with the Metropolitan Police Service from 2010 to 2012, and the Chief Constable of Surrey Police from 2012 to 2015.

Lynne Owens

Director-General of the National Crime Agency
Assumed office
4 January 2016
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Theresa May
Boris Johnson
DeputyDavid Armond
Nina Cope
Matthew Horne
Preceded byKeith Bristow
Chief Constable of Surrey Police
In office
February 2012 – December 2015
Preceded byMark Rowley
Succeeded byNick Ephgrave
Assistant Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
In office
December 2010 – February 2012
Preceded byChris Allison
Succeeded byMark Rowley
Personal details
Born (1969-01-29) 29 January 1969 (age 50)
ProfessionChief Police Officer
AwardsQueen's Police Medal (2008)
Commander of the Order of the British Empire (2015)
a. ^ As First Deputy Director-General for Capabilities. b. ^ As Second Deputy Director-General for Operations.

Early life and educationEdit

Owens was born on 29 January 1969.[2] Her father, Edward Crew, was chief constable of the West Midlands from 1996 to 2002.[3] She studied at the University of Exeter, graduating with a Master of Arts (MA) degree in 2008.[2]

Police careerEdit

Owens began her policing career when she joined the Metropolitan Police Service in 1989.[4] As a Constable, she was based in Catford, London.[5] On promotion to Sergeant, she transferred to Kent Police and began training to become a detective.[6] In the rank of Detective Chief Inspector, she became a senior investigating officer with the force's major crime department.[6][7] During her time as a detective, she investigated ten major murders.[4]

In 2002, Owens transferred to Surrey Police.[7] She was appointed Divisional Commander of North Surrey in May 2003.[4] In January 2005, she was promoted to temporary assistant chief constable responsible for specialist operations.[6] This was her first experience of a chief officer rank. She qualified as a Gold firearms Commander during that appointment.[8] Having completed the Strategic Command Course run by the National Policing Improvement Agency, she was made assistant chief constable responsible for territorial operations.[8] She became the youngest person to hold the rank of deputy chief constable when she was appointed to the rank temporarily in March 2008.[6] During that appointment, she headed an organisational change programme.[6]

In April 2009, Owens returned to the Metropolitan Police as a Deputy Assistant Commissioner.[6] In that role she was responsible for operations within territorial policing.[8] She was promoted to Assistant Commissioner in December 2010,[4] becoming only the second woman to hold that rank in the force.[5] She served as head of Central Operations from 2010 to 2011.[4] In August 2011, she additionally became responsible for the Specialist Crime Directorate and became head of the Specialist Crime and Operations Directorate.[8] She was overall commander of the policing for the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton that took place in April 2011,[4][9] and the state visit by American President Barack Obama in May 2011.[10]

In December 2011, Owens was selected to become the next Chief Constable of Surrey Police.[7] She took up the appointment in February 2012, becoming the first woman to head the force.[11] In December 2012, her contract was extended until November 2017 by Kevin Hurley, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey Police.[11] However, in a meeting in September 2015, Hurley revealed he had been considering her dismissal for a "failure of leadership" in relation to concerns about her record on child protection.[12] She was part and parcel of (MPS) top leadership, in 2011 England riots which brought in criticism for the Metropolitan Police Service.[13]

It was announced on 26 November 2015 that Owens would be the next head of the National Crime Agency. She replaced outgoing Director-General and former Chief Constable of Warwickshire Police, Keith Bristow QPM in January 2016.[14] Upon taking up the appointment, she became the most senior woman in British law enforcement.[15]


In the 2008 New Year Honours, Owens was awarded the Queen's Police Medal (QPM) for distinguished service.[11] In the 2015 Birthday Honours, she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) 'for services to Policing and Criminal Justice'.[16]


Ribbon Description Notes
  Order of the British Empire (CBE)
  • 2015
  • Degree of Commander
  • Civil Division
  Queen's Police Medal (QPM)
  • 2008
  Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal
  • 2002
  • UK Version of this Medal
  Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
  • 2012
  • UK Version of this Medal
  Police Long Service and Good Conduct Medal


  1. ^ "National Crime Agency appoints Lynne Owens as director general". The Guardian. 26 November 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  2. ^ a b 'OWENS, Lynne Gillian', Who's Who 2017, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2017; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2016; online edn, Nov 2016 accessed 4 Nov 2017
  3. ^ Perry, Alex (22 November 2018). "Organised crime in the UK is bigger than ever before. Can the police catch up?". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "The crown protectors: Forget Kate Middleton, it's these police women who will REALLY be under pressure on Royal Wedding day". The Daily Mail. 27 April 2011. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  5. ^ a b Davenport, Justin (2 December 2010). "Woman officer takes over job of policing demonstrations". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Lynne Owens returns as Surrey Police chief". Get Surrey. 23 December 2011. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  7. ^ a b c "Lynne Owens is new Surrey Chief Constable". BBC News. 23 December 2011. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  8. ^ a b c d "Chief Constable Lynne Owens". Our senior leaders. Surrey Police. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  9. ^ Scotland Yard plans pre-emptive strike against royal wedding anarchists[1]
  10. ^ "Leveson inquiry: Lord Condon, Lord Stevens, Lynne Owens appear". The Guardian. 6 March 2012. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  11. ^ a b c "Surrey Chief Constable Lynne Owens' contract extended". BBC News. 14 December 2012. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  12. ^ BBC News (2 February 2016). NCA head Lynne Owens faced criticism as Surrey Police chief.
  13. ^ Woman police chief is appointed £214,000-a-year director-general of the 'UK's FBI'[2][3][4][5][6][7][8]
  14. ^ "Surrey Chief Constable Lynne Owens to take over National Crime Agency". BBC News. 26 November 2015. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
  15. ^ "Lynne Owens announced as new head of National Crime Agency". GOV.UK. Home Office. 26 November 2015. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
  16. ^ "No. 61256". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 June 2015. pp. B8–B10.
Police appointments
Preceded by
Chris Allison
Assistant Commissioner (Central Operations)
Metropolitan Police Service

Appointment merged
New title Assistant Commissioner (Specialist Crime and Operations)
Metropolitan Police Service

Succeeded by
Mark Rowley
Preceded by
Mark Rowley
Chief Constable of Surrey Police
Succeeded by
Nick Ephgrave
Preceded by
Keith Bristow
Director-General of the National Crime Agency