Stephen Rimmer

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Stephen Rimmer was (from November 2007 - February 2009) the Director of Prevent and of the RICU counter terror propaganda unit, part of the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism set up by the Home Office, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for Communities and Local Government. He was succeeded by Debbie Gupta.


A biographical note issued at a Prevent meeting in Aberdeen in January 2009 notes:

Stephen Rimmer joined the Home Office in 1984 and worked in a variety of policy posts there and in Northern Ireland Office until 1993. Having been involved in the Prison Service bid to run Strangeways Prison after the 1990 riot, he was Deputy Governor there for two years, before working in the Cabinet Office as Director of the Central Drugs Co-ordination Unit until 1998. He subsequently became Governor of first Gartree Prison in Leicestershire (an all lifer establishment) and then Wandsworth Prison (a large Victorian local prison).
He became Director of Policing Policy in the Home Office in January 2002, with responsibility for all areas of police policy work other than the Standards Unit. He joined the Metropolitan Police Service in October 2005 as a member of its Management Board and as Director of Strategy, Modernisation and Performance. In November 2007 he returned to the Home Office to become Director of the Prevent Strategy, and of the Research Information and Communications Unit, within the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism.[1]


Rimmer was governor of Wandsworth at the time of the suicide there of Keita Craig.[2]

In January 2001, the Guardian reported that Wandsworth prisoner Steven Graham claimed he had been intimidated over an assault complaint against a staff member:

Stephen Rimmer, governor of Wandsworth prison, said: "In the last year we've had about 50 allegations now from prisoners about staff in respect of some form of physical or mental harm. The majority of those we've investigated internally. There are currently nine allegations that are still being investigated by police."
Mr Rimmer said the allegations from Graham were "arguably the single most serious allegation we have had in recent months" and added: "I am determined to root out any unacceptable behaviour perpetrated by a small minority of staff and to reinforce the positive approach taken by the vast majority."[3]

In February 2001, a court ruling overturned the inquest verdict into Keita Craig's death at Wandsworth, where seven suicides had taken place in the preceding 12 months, the Evening Standard reported:

Governor Mr Rimmer, who is described by Keita Craig's family as "a good man with a tough job", said: "What I can never say is that individuals won't have an opportunity to commit suicide or serious self-harm. The only way to achieve that is to place them under a 24-hour watch, which is impossible.
But I am totally confident that the overall regime is becoming healthier and more positive for the prisoners. Inmates at local prisons like Wandsworth are particularly at risk because of the shock of coming into the prison environment from the real world and because of the uncertainty - many of them are on remand.[4]


In 2009, Rimmer advised against a review of the Metropolitan Police's phone-hacking investigation by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary. In an email on 13 July 2009 to Richard Westlake, the private secretary to Home Secretary Alan Johnson, Rimmer wrote: "My own advice on this remains that there are insufficient grounds to do so … and that the Met would deeply resent what they would see as 'interference' in an operational investigation which could, of course, be revived at any given time."[5]

In advice to Johnson the following day, Rimmer wrote that a review "could lead to accusations that … following recent exchanges with John Yates, we do not have full confidence in the MPS".[5]


While serving as Director General of the Home Office’s Crime and Policing Group, on 7 August 2013, Rimmer was appointed as interim chair of the Serious Organised Crime Agency, following the resignation of Sir Ian Andrews.[6]



  1. 'Speakers', TACKLING NEW PRIORITIES PREVENTING VIOLENT EXTREMISM IN OUR COMMUNITIES, Thursday 22 January 2009, Richard Donald Suite, Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
  2. Danny Kemp, Star saw hanged son's cell, Daily Mirror, 14 April 2000.
  3. Vikram Dodd, Prison officers suspended in assault inquiry, The Guardian, 17 January 2001.
  4. Laura Smith, Jail governor speaks out as judges overturn cell death verdict, Evening Standard, 14 February 2001.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Nick Davies, Nicholas Watt and Vikram Dodd, Phone-hacking inquiry was abandoned to avoid upsetting police, The Guardian, 6 September 2010.
  6. SOCA interim Chairman announced, Home Office, 7 August 2013.