Mark Rowley, Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations, Metropolitan Police Service

Join us to hear Mark Rowley, Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations, Metropolitan Police Service, give a talk on the current and evolving terrorist threat and what is being done to counter it. Mark will also reflect on his leadership journey and highlight some of the leadership challenges the Met is facing. A Q&A, conducted under the Chatham House rule, will follow Mark’s presentation


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  • About the speaker

    Mark Rowley is the Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations (ACSO) in the Metropolitan Police Service and the senior officer in charge of Counter Terrorism (CT) policing in the UK; a position he has held since June 2014. During this period Mark has led the policing response to an

    unprecedented surge of threat from terrorism. Strengthening police capability, increasing join-up with community policing, closer working with intelligence partners and an increase in preventative interventions to counter radicalisation have led to a 42% increase in terrorism related arrests and 20 attack plots prevented during this period. Prevent work is currently helping turn 850 people away from extremism each year. The tragic events of 2017 have seen a testing of the strengthened command,firearms and response arrangements that Mark has overseen.As ACSO he represents CT Policing in its engagement with Government on operational and policy issues associated with tackling terrorism, espionage and proliferation. This portfolio also includes responsibility for the investigation of war crimes, Official Secrets Act offences and the protection of VIPs, Royals, Embassies and Parliament.


    Mark joined the Metropolitan Police Service as an Assistant Commissioner in December 2011, immediately after the London riots. He led the response to these events and this resulted in a transformation in the approaches to policing gangs and public order. He oversaw the leadership and direction of specialist areas including major and specialist crime, protecting vulnerable people, combating gangs, fraud and organised crime. Mark created the ‘Specialist Crime and Operations’ business group, rationalising what had previously been the roles of 2 Assistant ommissioners. During this period he oversaw a step-change in public confidence to report abuse allegations to the police, strengthening the ability to support victims and investigate allegations of crime; resulting in a 40% increase in detections for serious sexual offences. Through refocussing the work of the worldrenowned Trident command from gun-crime to the wider mission of gang-crime, Mark oversaw a 2 year reduction across London in shootings of 42%. Mark also led the policing of high profile global events such as policing major events including the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and Margaret Thatcher’s Funeral.


    Prior to joining the Metropolitan Police, Mark was Chief Constable of Surrey for four years where he led a radical change program addressing austerity challenges, whilst increasing the number of front line officers to serve the community. He developed a national reputation for innovative change and, in addition to success in crime reduction and investigating complex operations, his leadership of neighbourhood policing led Surrey to have the highest level of public confidence of any of the 43 forces across the UK.

    Mark began his policing career in 1987 in West Midlands Police, having graduated from St Catharine’s College, Cambridge. He has built a wide policing expertise progressing through a broad uniformed and detective career in West Midlands Police, the National Criminal Investigation Service (as a Detective Superintendent he led national covert functions tackling organised crime) and from 2000 at Surrey Police where he was subsequently promoted to Chief Constable having held various posts with responsibilities from community policing to specialist crime. In 2011 he was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal.


    It was at University where Mark met his wife who has had a successful legal career and together they have two sons. In addition to the demands of his current role Mark likes to keep himself fit and can regularly be found running the streets of London. He is a keen Aston Villa supporter, but the less said about that the better…