Metropolitan Police advertises for a new commissioner

Sir Paul Stephenson
Image caption Sir Paul Stephenson resigned as commissioner following the phone-hacking scandal

The Metropolitan Police Authority has begun its search for a commissioner at Scotland Yard, following the resignation of Sir Paul Stephenson.

In an advert it said applicants must have recent experience as chief constables or equivalent ranks.

The job involves leading the biggest force in the UK with more than 50,000 staff and a £3bn budget.

Sir Paul quit on Sunday following the phone-hacking scandal. His deputy, Tim Godwin, will be acting commissioner.

He takes up his role on Monday, with Bernard Hogan-Howe - who was chief constable of Merseyside Police between 2004 and 2009 - filling in as deputy commissioner.

Responsibilities for the new commissioner will include a national counter-terrorism role, policing London and major events including the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

The appointment will be made by the Queen, following a recommendation by Home Secretary Theresa May.

Sara Thornton, who has been chief constable at Thames Valley Police since 2007, has been made joint favourite for the job by betting firm Ladbrokes.

Ms Thornton worked at Scotland Yard for 15 years from 1986 before heading to Thames Valley.

Mr Hogan-Howe has also been tipped, as has Sir Hugh Orde who missed out narrowly when Sir Paul was appointed in 2009.

Mr Godwin is seen as a "safe pair of hands", having deputised for Sir Paul recently when the commissioner was convalescing after having a cancerous tumour removed.

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