Open main menu

Sir Paul Robert Stephenson QPM (born 26 September 1953) was the Metropolitan Police Commissioner from 2009 to 2011.

Sir Paul Stephenson

Sir Paul Stephenson and Theresa May.jpg
Stephenson pictured in South London, May 2010
Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
In office
28 January 2009 – 18 July 2011
DeputyTim Godwin
Preceded bySir Ian Blair
Succeeded byBernard Hogan-Howe
Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service
In office
16 March 2005 – 28 January 2009
Preceded bySir Ian Blair
Succeeded byTim Godwin
Personal details
Paul Robert Stephenson

(1953-09-26) 26 September 1953 (age 66)
Bacup, Lancashire
ProfessionPolice officer

Stephenson joined the Lancashire police in 1975 and attended the Bramshill staff training course. As a superintendent, he was closely involved in the inquiry into the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster. After serving as chief constable of Lancashire, he was promoted deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in 2005, acting commissioner in 2008, and finally commissioner in January 2009. In July 2011, Stephenson resigned over speculation regarding his connection with Neil Wallis, suspected of involvement in the News International phone hacking scandal.


Stephenson grew up in Bacup in the Rossendale district of east Lancashire, the son of a butcher.[1] He attended Fearns County secondary School in Stacksteads where he excelled at swimming and went on to Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School to do his 'A' levels and became head boy.[2][3][4]

Stephenson originally desired a career in the footwear industry, and took up work at the Bacup Shoe Company factory in nearby Stacksteads. By the age of 20 he was made a trainee manager, but in 1975 he followed his elder brother into the police force.[5][6]

He now shares a home in Lancashire with his wife Lynda and their three children.[7]


Stephenson joined the police service in 1975, aged 21 and spent much of his early service as a constable attached to the Lancashire Underwater Search Unit. In 1982 Stephenson attended the Bramshill police training college near Hook in Hampshire as a sergeant on the Special Course at the same time as Sir Hugh Orde, Peter Clarke, Tim Brain, Paul Kernaghan, Frank Whitely, Jane Stitchbury and numerous other chief police officers. He became a sergeant in Bacup (1983), then an inspector in Burnley (1984) and a Chief Inspector in Colne Traffic Department (1986). He became a superintendent at the age of 34 in February 1988 when in Accrington as sub-divisional commander before being appointed to a Headquarters research and planning post where he also acted as staff officer to his then Chief Constable, Brian Johnson CBE, QPM, who was professional advisor to Sir Peter Taylor during the course of him undertaking the Hillsborough Inquiry (1989–1990). Stephenson was thus party to all of the material submitted to and considered by the Taylor Inquiry, albeit in a relatively junior position. He took a six-month secondment to the (former) RUC in the early 1990s as a sub-divisional commander, a posting that ended in some acrimony. He returned to Lancashire to a further Headquarters support post before being appointed in 1994 as a sub-divisional commander then divisional commander in Preston. He has also served as Assistant Chief Constable in Merseyside Police starting in 1994 until 1999 and Deputy Chief Constable in Lancashire from May 1999 under Chief Constable Pauline Clare. Stephenson supplanted Pauline Clare and was himself appointed as Chief Constable of Lancashire Constabulary in July 2002 and promoted to deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in February 2005.

In September 2008 it was announced he would become acting commissioner of the Met from 1 December, following the resignation of Sir Ian Blair. In January 2009 it was announced that he had been appointed as commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service.[8]

Stephenson is a close colleague of his contemporary, Sir Norman Bettison, having worked with him during the Hilsborogh enquiry when both were acting as support to their chief constables.

Stephenson was nicknamed "Rusty" by colleagues in the Metropolitan Police, referring to his "near-permanent tan".[5]


In July 2011, Stephenson's judgement was questioned after it emerged that Neil Wallis, a former executive editor of the News of the World had acted as a media consultant to the MPS in 2009 and 2010,[9][10][11] and also that in early 2011 Stephenson received £12,000 of free hospitality from a Champneys health spa, where Wallis was working at the time whilst Stephenson was recovering from surgery for the removal of a non-malignant tumour in his femur.[12] On 14 July 2011, Wallis was arrested by the Metropolitan Police investigating the News of the World phone hacking scandal.[1]

On 17 July, in a lengthy statement[13] in which he defended his actions, Stephenson announced his intention to resign as commissioner, saying that questions surrounding his integrity would otherwise become detrimental to the Met as a whole. The Deputy Commissioner, Tim Godwin, became Acting Commissioner[14] in the interim between Sir Paul's resignation and the appointment of his successor, Bernard Hogan-Howe.[15]

This is an excerpt from Stephenson's statement.

I have this afternoon informed the Palace, Home Secretary and the Mayor of my intention to resign as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service. I have taken this decision as a consequence of the ongoing speculation and accusations relating to the Met's links with News International at a senior level and in particular in relation to Mr Neil Wallis who as you know was arrested in connection with Operation Weeting last week.

Titles, styles, ranks and honoursEdit

Stephenson was awarded the Queen's Police Medal for services to policing in May 2000,[8] followed in 2007 by an Honorary Fellowship from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston.[16] He was knighted in the Queen's 2008 Birthday Honours.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Profile: Sir Paul Stephenson", BBC News, 17 July 2011
  2. ^ "Friends of BRGS Spring 2004" (PDF). Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School. April 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 October 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
  3. ^ "Police chief returns to his roots". Bury Times. 12 February 1999. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  4. ^ "Sir Paul Stephenson, QPM Biography". Debrett's. Archived from the original on 11 September 2012. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
  5. ^ a b Lydall, Ross (15 July 2011). "The Met's top cop, Sir Paul Stephenson". Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
  6. ^ "Bacup-born police chief denies Madeleine McCann case claims". Lancashire Telegraph. 26 May 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
  7. ^ Fitzpatrick, Katie (9 August 2009). "Top cop comforts daughter". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
  8. ^ a b Laville, Sandra (27 January 2009). "Sir Paul Stephenson appointed as new Metropolitan Police commissioner". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
  9. ^ "Arrested NOTW Deputy 'Was Police Consultant'". Sky News. 14 July 2011. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
  10. ^ Met Police Chief Quits Amid Hacking Claims, Sky News, 17 July 2011.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Biography". Metropolitan Police Service. Archived from the original on 11 July 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
  12. ^ Juliette Garside (17 July 2011). "Met chief faces questions over spa stay". Guardian. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
  13. ^ Stephenson, Paul (17 July 2011). "Statement from the Commissioner". Metropolitan Police Service. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
  14. ^ "May 'sorry' over Sir Paul Stephenson resignation". BBC News. 18 July 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
  15. ^ "Bernard Hogan-Howe new Metropolitan Police commissioner". BBC News. 12 September 2011. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
  16. ^ Shah, Bashir (8 April 2008). "Honorary Fellows". University of Central Lancashire. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2011.

External linksEdit

Police appointments
Preceded by
Sir Ian Blair
Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
Acting: 2008–2009
Succeeded by
Bernard Hogan-Howe
Deputy Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
Succeeded by
Tim Godwin
Preceded by
Chief Constable of Lancashire
Succeeded by
Steve Finnigan