Metropolitan Police appoint its first head of counter-terrorism of Asian origin

Neil Basu

Scotland Yard has appointed the first head of counter-terrorism of Asian origin.

Neil Basu, a Metropolitan police deputy assistant commissioner, will take over from Mark Rowley, who retires later this month.

Basu is a former Metropolitan commander who currently oversees organised crime and gangs.

He has specialised in counter-terrorism policing since 2015 and was in effect Rowley’s deputy.

Basu said: “It is a privilege to be asked to join the management board of the Met and to lead for CT policing at such a point in our history. It is both a challenge and a duty that I accept with humility and a sense of great purpose.”

He took up his current role as senior national coordinator for counter-terrorism in October 2016, in which he was responsible for delivering the police response to pursuing “terrorists” and the controversial Prevent strategy.

During the wave of domestic attacks in Britain last year, Basu would have been seen up close and under pressure by senior security officials as well as the home secretary and prime minister.

He has previously criticised plans to stop armed officers conferring and more recently said government funding cuts jeopardised national security and called for reforms to the Prevent strategy.

Basu is the first officer of Asian heritage to be appointed as the Met’s head of counter-terrorism.

The Met has come under fire for its lack of diversity across ranks so Basu’s appointment to a senior role will be seen by some as a positive step.

Commenting on the appointment, the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said Basu’s promotion was well deserved and he had his utmost support.

The Met commissioner, Cressida Dick, said: “He is a leader of courage, compassion and integrity and I know he will do a great job.”

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