Boris’s retreat from accountability over the Met should worry us all

Boris Johnson’s retreat from accountability is something we should all be worried about, writes Labour London Assembly Memeber Joanne McCartney.

OH MY GOD ITS BORIS WAT A LEGERND! “Oh, well, um, er, hello my good chap, um er, piffle paffle and all that, we knocked down a door did we, well, um, as Euripidies once said, um, and I paraphrase, um, er, jolly good biff boff and all that, what, what“

 

By Joanne McCartney AM (Labour, Enfield and Haringey)

As anyone who’s seen Baltimore crime series The Wire will know there are very real dangers with politicising the police. The last thing we want is our senior officers putting the short term electoral concerns of politicians ahead of the long term interests of the public.

As the Mayor seizes more control of the Metropolitan Police and police authorities are scrapped these concerns are brought to the fore. This retreat from accountability is something we should all be worried about.

The Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) has been replaced by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPC), the Mayor will hand over day-to-day running of the Met to Tory Assembly Member Kit Malthouse.

These changes are part of the government’s controversial plans to introduce directly elected police commissioners.

The dangers of directly elected commissioners are well documented and were raised during the debates in Parliament that saw these changes being forced through.

The arrangements for the new ‘MOPC’ are still unclear. Whereas the MPA met every month in public where it questioned senior officers, the MOPC can meet behind closed doors and make decisions in private, out of public sight. Many of the improvements in the Metropolitan Police that were achieved after the introduction of the MPA in 2000 were due to increased transparency and effective scrutiny of the Met.

Worrying changes have also been made to the handling of complaints against senior officers. While the MPA had the power and duty to investigate complaints against senior officers, disciplinary matters now fall solely to the Met Commissioner.

These changes are a retreat from accountability which is deeply concerning and does little to increase transparency. Effective oversight of key decisions, spending and policing priorities is essential to increasing public confidence and driving up performance.

To counter these concerns it is vital the London Assembly’s new police and crime committee has teeth and deals with the issues that go to the heart of policing and crime in London. The London Assembly’s new police and crime committee will assume responsibility for scrutinising the Mayor’s new policing body. We will conduct in-depth investigations into issues that are important for Londoners, including gangs in London, stop and search and the response to the riots, as well as monitoring crime rates and other performance issues.

It is incumbent on us as members of the London Assembly and the police and crime committee to hold the Mayor, his deputy for policing and the police to account on behalf of the public. As we have seen in recent years the issues at stake are far too important to be taken lightly.

It is essential the MOPC and the police are transparent and forthcoming towards investigations run by the new scrutiny committee; anything less is unacceptable. Otherwise there is a great danger trust will be lost and trust of the public in its police service is vital. For the public to trust these new arrangements and the police we must continue holding the Met and Mayor to account.

See also:

Resources, powers and accountability – the three big issues facing the police in 2012Kevin Meagher, January 5th 2012

Boris’s policies are making London less safeAndrew Dismore, October 6th 2011

Things will only get worse for the police as May’s cuts begin to biteKevin Meagher, July 25th 2011

Burglaries, robberies, muggings on the rise… is the downturn to blame?Shamik Das, June 29th 2011

Cooper: Tory “reputation” on law and order “was only ever rhetoric”Tom Rouse, May 22nd 2011

22 Responses to “Boris’s retreat from accountability over the Met should worry us all”

  1. Christine Quigley

    Great blog from Joanne McCartney AM highlighting Boris' retreat from accountability on policing: http://t.co/w5iOxXcS #ken4london

  2. Alex Braithwaite

    RT @leftfootfwd: Boris’s retreat from accountability over the Met should worry us all http://t.co/WbZzB1K1

  3. Joanne McCartney

    Boris’s retreat from accountability over the Met should worry us all: http://t.co/wz8Qaa6v

  4. Navin Shah

    RT @leftfootfwd: Boris’s retreat from accountability over the Met should worry us all http://t.co/Dvz1gQy7

  5. joedgoldberg

    Boris’s retreat from accountability over the Met should worry us all: http://t.co/wz8Qaa6v

  6. Len Duvall

    RT @leftfootfwd: Boris’s retreat from accountability over the Met should worry us all http://t.co/lxTL9hQF

  7. GLA Labour

    RT @leftfootfwd: Boris’s retreat from accountability over the Met should worry us all http://t.co/ppC6c4DR

  8. John Biggs

    Boris’s retreat from accountability over the Met should worry us all, writes @JoanneMcCartney: http://t.co/U7of6BV5 #Police

  9. Nicky Gavron AM

    RT @leftfootfwd: Boris’s retreat from accountability over the Met should worry us all http://t.co/ppC6c4DR

  10. Yrotitna

    Boris’s retreat from accountability over the Met should worry us all, writes @JoanneMcCartney: http://t.co/U7of6BV5 #Police

  11. Mr. Sensible

    Couldn’t agree more. I think another point worth considering is that, if something like the August riots were to happen again, because different police commissioners may have different political priorities, cross-boarder policing may be more difficult.

  12. Newsbot9

    More like the MPA were unlike to agree with the sort of militarisation…

  13. Charlie Holden

    RT @leftfootfwd: Boris’s retreat from accountability over the Met should worry us all http://t.co/1cGpVWjI

  14. Ken pulls ahead of “increasingly out of touch” Boris | Left Foot Forward

    […] Boris’s retreat from accountability over the Met should worry us all – Joanne McCartney AM, January 16th […]

  15. JennetteArnoldAM

    As a long standing member of the old MPA I share the concerns of @JoanneMcCartney in her excellent piece 4 @leftfootfwd http://t.co/0b1RbIbO

  16. John Biggs

    As a long standing member of the old MPA I share the concerns of @JoanneMcCartney in her excellent piece 4 @leftfootfwd http://t.co/0b1RbIbO

  17. Alastair Morgan

    I agree that this is a very worrying development. I’ve had 25 years experience in dealing with corruption in the Met and without the intervention of the MPA in the case of my brother’s murder, I’m sure that this corruption would never have been admitted by the police.

  18. Alastair Morgan

    RT @leftfootfwd: Boris’s retreat from accountability over the Met should worry us all http://t.co/lxTL9hQF

  19. Paul Krishnamurty

    Tories seem to be all for greater accountability – except for Boris Johnson and the Met that is: http://t.co/XUzO3k6A #BBCqt

  20. Jay Thompson

    Tories seem to be all for greater accountability – except for Boris Johnson and the Met that is: http://t.co/XUzO3k6A #BBCqt

  21. Samuel Tarry

    RT @leftfootfwd: Tories seem to be all for greater accountability -except for Boris Johnson and the Met that is: http://t.co/9AQUtQXA #BBCqt

  22. Martin Johnston

    Tories seem to be all for greater accountability – except for Boris Johnson and the Met that is: http://t.co/XUzO3k6A #BBCqt

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