John Stevens came from an aviation family, but a sight defect meant he could not pursue flying professionally (although the defect turned out to be temporary and he later qualified as a pilot). But his grandfather had been in the police. Stevens joined the Met as a constable (at the now defunct Tottenham Court Road police station). He moved up the ranks and became asst chief constable in Hants and Cambridgeshire, then chief constable in Northumbria before becoming HM Inspector of Constabulary. He was appointed Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in 2000 and retired in January 2005. He headed several high-profile official enquiries. He has investigated anti-terrorism matters on three continents; and lectured at the City University, New York. Ongoing (2005) is his official enquiry into the deaths of Princess Diana and Dodi al-Fayed. There is nothing in his career he won't discuss in these memoirs, which will be authoritative, including the vexing subject of police corruption (he gave a quote for the Orion title, BENT COPPERS by Graeme McLagan).
He is also frank about the unique role of the Commissioner who is responsible both the Major of London and to the Home Secretary (he served three including David Blunkett, whose own comments on Stevens made headlines at the time of Blunkett's resignation). Not since Sir Robert Mark in the 1970s has so distinguished a policeman held the post of Met Commissioner. In Oct 2005 he goes to New York to become visiting professor at the City University.
John Stevens (b.Oct 1942) was Commissioner, Metropolitan Police for five years until Jan 2005. A career policeman for 40 years, he originally joined the Met on the beat. He served as asst chief constable in Hants and Cambridgeshire, then chief constable in Northumbria before becoming HM Inspector of Constabulary. He became Commissioner, Metropolitan Police in 2000, retiring in Jan 2005. He headed high-profile enquiries into Northern Ireland collusion, as well as alleged malpractice at National Criminal Intelligence Service. He has investigated anti-terrorism matters on three continents; and lectured at the City University, New York, where he studied the city's police methods. Ongoing (2005) is his official enquiry into Princess Diana's death. Knighted in 2000, he was made a life peer in 2005.