Hugh Orde, the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, confirmed tonight that he is bidding to become the next Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.
He said he had submitted an application to succeed Ian Blair in the briefest of statements from PSNI Headquarters in Belfast issued on the closing day for applications.
For Orde it would be a return to the police force where he started his career in 1977 and in which he rose to the rank of Assistant Chief Constable.
He has been head of the PSNI since 2002 and has two years to run on his current contract.
Before taking over the Northern Ireland hot seat he was the leading investigator in John Steven’s probe into allegations of RUC collusion with loyalist paramilitaries.
He applied for the PSNI job from that role.
Orde has been credited with playing a major part in making the PSNI much more acceptable to the nationalist population – recruitment from the Catholic population has now reached 25%.
He has been hailed and awarded international policing prizes for his oversight of the transition of the PSNI to what it is today – a policing job often described as the most difficult in global policing.
His success has seen Sinn Féin make the historic step of giving public support to policing in Northern Ireland and taking its places on the Northern Ireland Policing Board which holds Orde and his officers to account.