Sir Denis O’Connor

Sir Denis O’Connor is Radzi­now­icz Fel­low at the Insti­tute of Crim­i­nol­o­gy, Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty. He is an inde­pen­dent direc­tor of the Board of the Col­lege of Polic­ing, and an advis­er on Polic­ing to the Min­istry of Defence.

He was Her Majesty’s Chief Inspec­tor of Con­stab­u­lary between 2008-12. Pri­or to join­ing the Inspec­torate in 2004, he was Chief Con­sta­ble of Sur­rey between 2000 and 2004.

He has a Bachelor’s degree in Edu­ca­tion from Southamp­ton Uni­ver­si­ty and an MSc in Social Pol­i­cy from the Cran­field Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy.

Sir Denis began his police career with the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Police in 1968, left in 1976 to go to Uni­ver­si­ty and re-joined as a grad­u­ate entrant in 1974, even­tu­al­ly becom­ing Assis­tant Chief Con­sta­ble in Sur­rey in 1991. He was lat­er appoint­ed to the role of Deputy Chief Con­sta­ble of Kent, and then in 1997 took on the posi­tion of Assis­tant Com­mis­sion­er in Lon­don where he led the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Police Ser­vice devel­op­ment strat­e­gy fol­low­ing the Stephen Lawrence Enquiry.

In 1996, Sir Denis was award­ed the Queen’s Police Medal and lat­er received a CBE in 2002 for ser­vices to polic­ing. He received a knight­hood in 2010 in the Queen’s Birth­day Hon­ours.

In 2011, he was award­ed a place in George Mason University’s ‘Evi­dence-Based Polic­ing Hall of Fame’. He received an Hon­orary Doc­tor­ate in Laws from Wolver­hamp­ton Uni­ver­si­ty in Sep­tem­ber 2012.

Pri­or to becom­ing Vice Pres­i­dent of the Asso­ci­a­tion of Chief Police Offi­cers (ACPO) in 2003, he chaired the ACPO Per­for­mance Man­age­ment Busi­ness Area and led the pilot­ing of the Nation­al Reas­sur­ance Polic­ing Pro­gramme, the pre-cur­sor to Neigh­bour­hood Polic­ing.

In 2005, Sir Denis was com­mis­sioned by the Home Sec­re­tary to review the fit­ness of the cur­rent police force struc­ture, which result­ed in the pub­li­ca­tion of the report ‘Clos­ing the Gap’ sug­gest­ing options for change. Oth­er reviews under­tak­en dur­ing his tenure include ‘Inter­cept­ing Ter­ror­ism,’ a review pub­lished in Octo­ber 2006 on police capa­bil­i­ties for counter ter­ror­ism, and ‘Get­ting Organ­ised,’ a report pub­lished in Octo­ber 2008 on seri­ous and organ­ised crime.

Oth­er sig­nif­i­cant analy­sis, com­men­tary and reviews over­seen by Sir Denis fol­low­ing sig­nif­i­cant events that gen­er­at­ed pub­lic con­cern include: the issues aris­ing from the death of Baby Peter Con­nol­ly; the Lessons to be Learned from Stock­well; a review of the polic­ing of pub­lic protests in the con­text of G20;); the polic­ing of the August 2011 dis­or­ders and under­cov­er oper­a­tions (2012). He ini­ti­at­ed stud­ies to iden­ti­fy ‘what works’ in police han­dling of Anti-Social Behav­iour with the assis­tance of MORI and Cardiff Uni­ver­si­ty. His team pro­vid­ed sup­port to the Olympics Pro­gramme in test­ing the Olympic assur­ance process. In the Inspec­torate he intro­duced Val­ue for Mon­ey pro­files for all police forces in Eng­land and Wales in 2008/9 to assist com­par­isons to achieve greater effi­cien­cy and effec­tive­ness dur­ing aus­ter­i­ty. This has been fol­lowed by a series of stud­ies to track police avail­abil­i­ty (2010) and the pre­pared­ness of police forces and author­i­ties for the aus­ter­i­ty spend­ing peri­od (2011,2012); police rela­tion­ships with the media and oth­er par­ties (2011).

He has also con­tributed to the Scar­man Inquiry (1981, the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry (1999), and the Leve­son Inquiry (2012).