Press Releases

    SG/A/903
                     BIO/2945
         13 January 2005

    Secretary-General Appoints David Veness of United Kingdom as Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security

    NEW YORK, 13 January (UN Headquarters) -- The Secretary-General today announced the appointment of David Veness of the United Kingdom as Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security. He has been serving as Assistant Commissioner, Specialist Operations in the Metropolitan Police Service in London since April 1994.

    Mr. Veness joined the Metropolitan Police Cadet Corps in 1964, the Metropolitan Police in 1966 and became a CID officer in 1969. As a detective he has served in North, East and Central London and in various specialist departments at Scotland Yard. His postings as a Detective Chief Superintendent include 5O6 (Fraud Squad) and 5O10 (Crime Operations Group).

    Trained as a hostage negotiator in 1979, he was one of the negotiating team at the Iranian Embassy siege (1980) and led the negotiations at the Libyan Peoples Bureau incident in 1984. He was an instructor and then Director of the Scotland Yard Negotiators Course between 1980 and 1987. He has acted in an advisory capacity for sieges and aircraft hijackings in Europe, North and South America and in the Middle East.

    Mr. Veness was appointed Commander in 1987 and served with Royalty and Diplomatic Protection until 1990. During this period, he was also responsible for security arrangements at major State and ceremonial events. After attendance at the Royal College of Defence Studies in 1990, he became Commander Public Order, Territorial Security and Operational Support. He was knighted at the end of 2004.

    He was promoted to Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Specialist Operations, Crime, in November 1991 and took command of the specialist crime squads at Scotland Yard, which included serious, organized and international crime, the fraud squad, the flying squad, the crime operations branch, criminal intelligence and force firearms.

    Promoted to Assistant Commissioner on 5 April 1994, he assumed charge of all Specialist Operations including protection, terrorism, security and organized crime. He was also awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in the same year and the Commander of the British Empire in June 2000. He has also served as a member of the Service Authorities for the National Criminal Intelligence Service and the National Crime Squad.

    Mr. Veness was educated at Raynes Park County Grammar School in south London and Trinity College, Cambridge (Master of Arts and Master of Law).

    He is married with three children.

    Mr. Veness will assume his functions on 28 February 2005. In the interim, Catherine Bertini is Acting Head of the new Department for Safety and Security, while continuing her assignment as United Nations Security Coordinator. The Secretary-General deeply appreciates the splendid services and leadership of Ms. Bertini during the last 15 months when she, in addition to her regular duties as Under-Secretary-General for Management, headed the Office of the United Nations Security Coordinator during a particularly difficult period for the Organization with regard to safety and security of its personnel.

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