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Bob Quick, the policeman at the centre of Wednesday security breach, rose to head the Metropolitan police’s specialist operations, in charge of counter-terrorism and royal and diplomatic protection, after an unblemished career.

He even applied for the job as commissioner of the Met after the departure of Sir Ian Blair. But the last few months have tarnished that record.

A few months ago Mr Quick found himself at the centre of a political storm after he gave the go-ahead for the arrest of Damian Green, the Conservative frontbencher, and the search of his Commons office.

As the furore grew over the arrest, the Mail on Sunday newspaper published a story about his wife’s luxury car hire business, which she was running from their home.

He subsequently snapped when a reporter questioned him about the report, accusing senior Conservatives of leaking the story. He complained that his family had been put at risk because details of his home had been published.

He was forced to apologise for the remark, which some colleagues considered to be out of keeping with the calm, steady policeman they knew.

The father of five joined the Met in 1978 as a graduate of Exeter and Cambridge universities, working as a detective before becoming head of its anti-corruption command, a post reserved for unblemished officers.

He was praised in December 2002 after he took charge of London’s longest armed siege, involving a gunman in Hackney. It lasted 15 days. In 2003 he was promoted to deputy chief constable of Surrey police, taking over the top job the next year.

He must now seek to rebuild the reputation for impeccable judgment that built up over decades but quickly faded.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.

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