Mark Rowley, Metropolitan Police’s Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations and national lead for Counter Terrorism Policing announced to retire from policing duties later this year to pursue new challenges.
Rowley, who served in the police for 31 years was the UK’s senior most anti-terror police officer and had led investigations into last year’s Westminster, Manchester Arena and London Bridge terror attacks.
Rowley started his police career as a PC with West Midlands Police in 1987 before serving as Surrey Police Chief Constable and later joining the Met as assistant commissioner in 2011.
Announcing his retirement from policing, Rowley said: “I am as proud of the police service today as I was when starting on the beat in Birmingham in 1987. Every day I continue to witness the selfless, unwavering commitment of all involved in protecting and serving the public.
In June 2014 he was appointed as head of MPS Specialist Operations and national lead for UK Counter Terrorism Policing.
Prime Minister Theresa May expressed gratitude for his years of service and said he had provided leadership and reassurance during some of the ‘worst terrorist attacks in our history’.
She said: “AC Rowley’s dedication to protecting public safety and tackling the evils of terrorism, both throughout his career and as policing lead for counter-terrorism, has served as an example of the professionalism of our police forces and I am grateful to him for his years of service.”
He had applied for the role of Met’s commissioner last year but lost out to Cressida Dick, who was the first woman commissioner of the Met and the head of Scotland Yard.
Dick praised Rowley’s contribution in policing for London and the UK: “Mark will be a huge loss to policing. He has dedicated himself to protecting and serving the public and should be immensely proud of everything he has achieved.”
Under Rowley’s watch, the Met and the security services have been credited with preventing 23 planned terror attacks in Britain since 2013, including ten since March last year.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan also thanked the AC do his commitment and said: “On behalf of all Londoners, I want to thank Mark for his unwavering leadership, especially last year in the face of four unprecedented terrorist attacks in London – and for the large number of attempts he and his team were able to prevent. I wish him all the very best for his retirement.”
Rowley will be retiring in March and the Met have confirmed to start looking for his replacement soon.