ONE of the country's most senior former police officers has been appointed chancellor of a North-East university.

John Stevens, who was made Lord Stevens of Kirkwhelpington in the New Year's Honours List, was named the new Chancellor of Northumbria University.

During his 43-year police career, Lord Stevens became one of the best-known officers in the country, firstly as Chief Constable of Northumbria Police from 1991 to 1996 and then as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, the highest-ranking officer in the force, before he retired this year.

He is also widely known for his four-year inquiry into allegations of collusion between the security forces and terrorists in Northern Ireland, and is chairing the inquiry into the death of Princess Diana and Dodi Al-Fayed.

Lord Stevens, who is also president of Durham County Cricket Club, said: "I do not intend to be a distant presence.

"I live in the North-East and I intend to use every opportunity to get to know Northumbria University as an academic community of which I am proud to be new chancellor."

The appointment was welcomed by the university's vice-chancellor, Professor Kel Fidler, who said: "Northumbria University is very active internationally, and it is important that we have a chancellor who also has a global perspective.

"Lord Stevens has advised governments worldwide on a range of security matters and, just as importantly, he has a deep and abiding respect for education as a force in today's world."

Lord Stevens will replace Lord Glenamara, who announced his intention to step down after more than two decades.