16/08/2011 14:50 BST | Updated 16/10/2011 06:12 BST

US 'Supercop' Ruled Out As Met Boss

PRESS ASSOCIATION -- Home Secretary Theresa May has ruled out the appointment of a US "supercop" as the new head of Scotland Yard.

The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police has a "unique policing role in relation to national security" and that is why it has always been held by a British national, Mrs May said.

The process of appointing a new commissioner following the resignation of Sir Paul Stephenson last month is too important to delay to enable contenders from other countries, such as former US police chief Bill Bratton, to be considered, she said.

"I think it's absolutely important at the moment that we don't delay the appointment of a new Metropolitan Police Commissioner," Mrs May said. "It's an Olympics year and the Met is facing challenges following the departure of Sir Paul Stephenson and John Yates.

"It's also clear to me that as long as the Met retains its national policing duties, including counter-terrorism, the Commissioner will have a unique policing role in relation to national security, and that is why the post has always been held by a British citizen."

Speaking in central London, the Home Secretary went on: "Of course, as you know, we always seek advice from abroad - and, as you know, Bill Bratton is going to be providing advice, as others will be, on gang crime.

"But I would also say this. I absolutely believe that we will be able to find from amongst our ranks the sort of tough crime fighter, equipped to lead the Metropolitan Police and drive down crime in our capital."

The deadline to apply to become Britain's most senior police officer is Wednesday.

Speaking earlier this week, Mr Bratton hit out at critics opposing the Government's consultation of foreign experts to improve British policing, saying the UK needed to learn lessons from other countries if its own forces are to move forward.

The appointment of the former New York police commissioner was attacked over the weekend by Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, who said the UK had no lessons to learn from gang-ridden America.