Though speculation mounted in the Irish press that Police Service of Northern Ireland Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde would be appointed the new head of the London Metropolitan Police this week, on Tuesday night it was confirmed that Orde lost out on the prestigious posting to Sir Paul Stephenson, current deputy assistant commissioner. For Orde, 50, the coveted appointment would have meant his return to the police force where he started his career as a 19-year-old constable, and in which he eventually climbed to the rank of deputy assistant commissioner. Orde has been chief constable of the PSNI since 2002, and has two years to run on his current contract. Orde originally joined London's Metropolitan Police Force in 1977. He rose quickly through the ranks, becoming superintendent in the Territorial Support Group. In Northern Ireland Orde (by then a deputy assistant commissioner) was assigned to the senior staff of the Stevens Report, which investigated government collusion in sectarian murders in Northern Ireland. He was appointed as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2001.