Met police chief branded 'extremely foolish' over handling of Plebgate to be knighted a year after taking up roleAlso been called a bully who has left staff exhausted and demoralisedOne critic questioned the value of 'archaic custom' which means honour is automatically handed out to every commissioner
00:02 GMT, 29 December 2012
Britain's most senior police officer will receive a knighthood in the midst of the most turbulent period of his command.
Bernard Hogan-Howe is being honoured little more than a year after taking up the role of Metropolitan Police commissioner.
But his tenure has been besieged by controversy, and last week he was branded ‘completely compromised’ by senior Tories and ‘extremely foolish’ by a former director of public prosecutions over ‘Plebgate’.
Bernard Hogan Howell (pictured right) will received a knighthood. The Met Police commissioner abandoned his holiday to take control of the inquiry into claims that Andrew Mitchell (left) was stitched up by police
Mr Hogan-Howe, 55, was forced to abandon his holiday to take control of the inquiry into claims police had ‘stitched up’ the then chief whip Andrew Mitchell with claims he called them ‘plebs’.
In the New Year, Mr Hogan-Howe will attend Buckingham Palace to receive his knighthood at a time when his popularity among officers is at its lowest ebb.
Rank-and-file representatives have already branded him a ‘bully’ who has left junior staff exhausted and demoralised.
And one critic questioned the value of an ‘archaic custom’ which means the honour is automatically handed out to every commissioner.
John Tully, who leads the Metropolitan Police Federation, said the honour ‘goes with the job’ and it is ‘disappointing in the extreme’ that frontline staff get little recognition.
Jenny Jones (pictured) said: 'I wish the commissioner luck, but I am curious about such an archaic custom. If it's automatic for someone in his job, can it really be of value'
CCTV footage cast doubt on police officer Toby Rowland's account of the 'Plebgate' incident. The footage showed Mr Rowland ushering Mr Mitchell out of a side gate at Downing Street but showed no evidence of a row
He said: ‘It sends out the wrong message when high-ranking officers get the highest level gongs while those who actually do the work at the sharp end get little or nothing.’
Jenny Jones, a member of the London Assembly who has worked on policing issues, said: ‘I wish the commissioner luck, but I am curious about such an archaic custom. If it’s automatic for someone in his job, can it really be of value’
But in an usually personal statement, Mr Hogan-Howe said he was ‘proud and thrilled’ to receive the honour. He paid tribute to his wife Marion White and his mother Cecilia, who died in 2002.
He faces yet more challenges in 2013, including budget cuts and further questions over ‘Plebgate’ and his role in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster.