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Next Met chief could be from Down Under as Priti Patel 'actively looks' to Australia

Priti Patel is scouring Australia for Cressida Dick’s replacement.

The Home Secretary has extended the search for Britain’s next Metropolitan Police commissioner Down Under after concluding that an outsider may be needed to break the culture blamed for a series of scandals.

Dame Cressida was recently granted a two-year extension on her contract, despite widespread calls for her to go.

Government sources said the decision reflected a lack of suitable replacements, with one saying it was ‘a case of better the devil you know’.

However, some senior Tories believe Dame Cressida could still be forced out early if Scotland Yard is hit by another scandal.

Home Secretary Priti Patel is looking to Australia for Cressida Dick’s replacement. Tipped as a likely candidate is Queensland police commissioner Katarina Carroll, (Above) who oversaw Australia’s biggest peacetime security operation at the G20 summit in Brisbane in 2014

The Home Secretary Priti Patel (R) with Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick (L), who has had widespread calls for her to leave despite being recently granted a two-year extension on her contract

Other potential candidates include Reece Kershaw (Above), who worked his way up the ranks to serve as commissioner of the Australian Federal Police since 2019 

Among those who have caught the eye of British ministers is Mick Fuller, the commissioner of New South Wales Police, whose tough-talking style would chime with Miss Patel’s approach

Former Australian police commissioner Andrew Colvin (Above) is another whose name has been mentioned. He transformed the service with new technologies and has considerable experience in dealing with terrorism, including the 2002 Bali bombings

By convention, the Metropolitan Police commissioner is drawn from the ranks of serving senior officers in the UK.

But Home Office officials have identified a loophole in the law which allows for the recruitment of senior officers from the United States and certain Commonwealth countries, including Canada and Australia.

Home Office sources confirmed that Miss Patel is ‘actively looking’ at recruiting Britain’s next top police officer from Australia.

One said: ‘The problem with senior police [here] is that they all sound the same and think the same. If you want to change the culture – and we do – you might need someone from outside.’

A second source said that Australia’s membership of the Five Eyes security network put them in ‘a very good place’ for compatibility with UK law enforcement. 

‘They also have some very robust crime-fighting cops.’

Among those who have caught the eye of British ministers is Mick Fuller, the commissioner of New South Wales Police, whose tough-talking style would chime with Miss Patel’s approach.

Mr Fuller has courted controversy, defending his force’s policy of strip-searching suspects by saying there needs to be ‘a little bit of fear’ of law enforcement.

‘People need to know there are consequences, especially those who are criminals or on the verge of being criminals,’ he said.

However, Mr Fuller has announced plans to retire next year, meaning the Home Office may have to look elsewhere unless he has a rethink.

Another likely candidate is Queensland police commissioner Katarina Carroll, who oversaw Australia’s biggest peacetime security operation at the G20 summit in Brisbane in 2014.

The former drug squad detective was drafted in to overhaul the troubled Queensland Fire and Emergency Service after it was hit by sexism and bullying scandals.

Her experience is likely to be of interest to ministers who want the next chief to address allegations that the force suffers from a culture of cover-ups and misogyny.

Discussing her experience, she later said: ‘Jumping from an organisation I knew to one I didn’t know – with people who weren’t happy about me coming – was the toughest time of my career.

‘But all I could do was be honest and say, “we have to take this organisation forward together”.’

Other potential candidates include Reece Kershaw, who worked his way up the ranks to serve as commissioner of the Australian Federal Police since 2019, and Michael Outram, commissioner of the Australian Border Force who is a former detective chief inspector at the Met.

Former Australian police commissioner Andrew Colvin is another whose name has been mentioned. He transformed the service with new technologies and has considerable experience in dealing with terrorism, including the 2002 Bali bombings.

Ministers have not ruled out a British appointment but are unimpressed with the available candidates.

Why knives and forks are off the table for children

When it comes to keeping young children’s table manners up to scratch, parents seem to have a lot on their plate these days.

But it appears youngsters have now gained the upper hand in the battle for good behaviour during family meals.

For a new study has found more than half of British children do not eat with a knife and fork. A staggering 54 per cent of parents with children aged four to ten admit their children do not use a knife and fork properly at meal times. And 60 per cent of youngsters often eat with just their hands, while nearly a fifth will lick their plate given the chance. The study, by children’s cutlery maker doddl, also found 28 per cent of parents admit their children talk with their mouths full, which they would have been told off for doing at the same age.

The study of 1,500 parents found this has effects beyond the family table – as 23 per cent often feel humiliated when at a restaurant with their children. Additionally 46 per cent let youngsters watch TV at the table and 35 per cent let them play with a tablet or phone at meal times.

Stacey Zimmels, a speech and language therapist specialising in paediatric feeding, said: ‘The onset of portable screens has replaced the family mealtime in many households’, meaning children ‘can be less exposed to a varied diet and have no demonstration of how to use cutlery’.