The City of London’s senior investigator is joining the exodus of police officers to the growing private security sector.

Ken Stewart, a detective chief superintendent who is retiring as head of crime at City of London police, is joining the Shield Group, the UK’s ninth largest business security company, as director of corporate risk.

Shield guards the Bank of England, the Swiss Re building, known as the Gherkin, and other City landmarks, as well as providing personal protection and fraud prevention for businesses.

Mr Stewart follows an established line of senior police officers leaving public service for the private sector. Former Metropolitan Police commissioner Paul Condon served as deputy chairman of security contractor G4S, before stepping down in 2012.

Lord Stevens, another former Met commissioner, is chairman at Quest, a corporate investigations company, and also serves as chair of Axiom International, which provides forensic services.

In the US, “supercop” Bill Bratton, former head of New York and Los Angeles police departments, was chairman and is now senior adviser at corporate investigations business Kroll.

Mr Stewart, 52, has led fraud inquiries and was involved in the investigations of bombings at Bishopsgate, St Mary Axe and Heathrow airport, as well as responding to the 7/7 attacks near Aldgate underground station.

“The Shield Group has provided me with the perfect opportunity to work within a great team and business that understands how the industry is changing and is leading the way forward,” Mr Stewart said.

Explaining the appeal of public sector expertise, John Roddy, chief executive of Shield and himself a former Greater Manchester policeman, said: “Ken brings vast knowledge and expertise to the team.”

Mr Roddy told the Financial Times that Shield, the third-biggest provider of purely security services after G4S and Securitas, was growing rapidly.

“Screening staff and employees is becoming bigger business for us, and protecting company secrets and intellectual property from theft,” he said.

Mr Roddy said the company, which turned over £70m this year and is growing more than 10 per cent a year, was starting to win government tenders. “It is an exciting opportunity,” he said.

The London-based group, which has more than 500 customers, is owned by Topsgrup, India’s largest security conglomerate, chaired by Richie Nanda.

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