Ron Taverner says he is withdrawing from consideration to be the next commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, citing the need to protect the integrity of front-line officers.

The 72-year-old Toronto police superintendent says in a statement he will not take on the role given the controversy surrounding his appointment late last year.

Taverner is a family friend of Premier Doug Ford and his appointment set off accusations of political interference in the hiring process for the province's top policing job.

In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Ford thanked Taverner for putting his name forward and says he would have been a "tremendous asset" to the OPP and the people of Ontario.

Ford says opposition parties have politicized the hiring process rather than focusing on supporting front-line officers.

The government says Interim Commissioner Gary Couture will remain in the position.