According to the Met Mr Rowley worked with MI5 and other intelligence agencies to successfully stop 23 attacks since the murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich in 2013, ten of which were foiled since March 2017.
Under his leadership, the number of arrests by counter-terrorism officers doubled in the last year.
Before taking over the counter-terror brief Mr Rowley had served as the Chief Constable to Surrey Police and later joined the Met as assistant commissioner in 2011 where he oversaw major changes in how the Met approached public order and gangs following the 2011 riots.
Announcing his retirement from policing, he said: “I am as proud of the police service today as I was when starting on the beat in Birmingham in 1987. Every day I continue to witness the selfless, unwavering commitment of all involved in protecting and serving the public.”
“I really have loved every role I have performed, but three stand out for me: those first days as a West Midlands police constable; and later as Chief Constable of Surrey, an innovative force delivering pioneering community policing. However, my time in the Met, leading the National Counter Terrorism Policing network at the most extraordinary time has been the greatest privilege.”
He added: “It was immensely sobering, but none the less the greatest honour for me, to lead the response to last year’s terrible events in Manchester and London, where I witnessed the extraordinary bravery and compassion of UK policing. It is therefore no surprise to me that Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services recently noted, the public’s confidence in the police to protect them against terrorism has, in the toughest year in decades, increased markedly.
“It has also been a privilege to have worked with two talented Met Commissioners, numerous Chief Constables around the country and an outstanding Director General of MI5 throughout my tenure. I now plan to catch my breath and then pursue fresh challenges.”
Met Commissioner Cressida Dick applauded Mr Rowley’s career and said she was “personally grateful” to him for the support he had shown her since her return to the Met.
She said: “Mark will be a huge loss to policing. He has dedicated himself to protecting and serving the public and should be immensely proud of everything he has achieved.
“Over the past few years he has built the capability of UK’s counter terrorism policing to one that is envied around the world.
“As the threat has developed he has led officers and staff in London, the UK and around the world so we are able to do everything possible to take on the terrorists who want to destroy the freedom and democracy we all enjoy.”
She added: “I wish Mark well for the future and we should all thank him for the leadership and professionalism he has given policing throughout his career.”
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “I want to thank Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley for his commitment to tackling the terrorist threat during his time as national policing lead for counter-terrorism. His leadership was especially apparent following the attacks last year when he provided the public with reassurance that we were being kept safe.”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan also paid tribute to Mr Rowley. He said: “Over 31 years of service Mark has risen through the ranks from his beginnings as a beat Constable in the West Midlands to Assistant Commissioner at the Metropolitan Police and the country’s most senior Counter Terrorism officer. That progression is a testament to his skill, tenacity and dedication, qualities I have seen time and again during our time working together.
“On behalf of all Londoners, I want to thank Mark for his unwavering leadership, especially last year in the face of four unprecedented terrorist attacks in London - and for the large number of attempts he and his team were able to prevent. I wish him all the very best for his retirement.”
Mr Rowley will continue to lead his counter terror policing network until March this year.
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