18 June 2020, The Tablet

John Sutherland – amazing grace

The Tablet Interview

John Sutherland – amazing grace

John Sutherland
Photo: ©Zac Crawley


One of Britain’s top cops, turned best-selling author, says that policing is not the solution to crime

John Sutherland used to be called J.T.B. – “John the Baptist” – by fellow officers during his 25-year stint as a “top cop” with London’s Metropolitan Police. It was, the retired chief superintendent says, a reference to his Anglican faith, but he never worked out if it was fond or hostile.

Not one, as he recalls, to “foist” his views on others, neither would he duck a question about his faith if asked. “In so much as J.T.B. was used to my face, I think it was affectionate, but in my early days as a PC in Brixton, I used to wear a small wooden cross on a cord round my neck. I do remember a colleague once grabbing it quite aggressively, and saying, ‘Why are you wearing that?’”

It is the only negative reaction he can remember. “Police officers are generally fair-minded people, used to investigation and inquiry. They look at how you believe and how you behave. If there is a consistency, they are all right. It’s hypocrisy they don’t like.”

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