West Midlands Chief Constable Sir Paul Scott-Lee is in the running for the country’s top police job.

Sir Paul has been named as one of four senior officers on a shortlist for the post of Metropolitan Police Commissioner.

The news comes just two months after he announced he was to step down from his role as head of West Midlands Police in April after seven years in charge.

The Metropolitan Police’s acting commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson, deputy to ex-commissioner Sir Ian Blair, is also on the shortlist alongside Sir Hugh Orde, chief constable of Northern Ireland and Merseyside chief constable Bernard Hogan-Howe.

The Metropolitan Police Authority confirmed the names on the list following widespread circulation of rumours on who had made the cut.

Sir Paul, 55, has quietly emerged as a strong candidate from outside the Metropolitan Police, while Mr Hogan-Howe’s chances were buoyed by the conviction of the teenage killer of Rhys Jones although Sir Paul Stephenson has been the front runner.

Nine had applied for the job. It is understood the four short-listed contenders were alerted by telephone that they would be called for interviews in January.

The post become vacant in October after the resignation of Sir Ian Blair who said he had decided to stand down due to political interference from the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. The four will be interviewed by members of the Police Authority. Their recommendations will be made to the Home Office along with representations by Mr Johnson.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith will then interview one or two candidates before making a final recommendation to the Queen.

Sir Paul, who is married with no children, has overseen dramatic in-roads in the fight against crime with the number of offences the lowest for 18 years. He was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in the 1997 New Year’s Honours List and was knighted in June 2007.