At this morning’s PCC meeting, Assembly Members were again told that MOPAC believes it alone has responsibility for scrutiny of the Met and that the PCC is merely responsible for scrutinising how it does that job.
I’ve already written about MOPAC’s failure and unwillingness to publicise its meetings.
As I tweeted during this month’s meeting, the MOPAC Challenge was as challenging as asking someone if they wanted milk in their coffee. There’s a good reason for this – the MOPAC cannot effectively scrutinise the Met because the Met’s performance is directly linked to the budgets and priorities the MOPAC sets.
Scrutiny requires an absence of vested interest.
At today’s PCC meeting, a MOPAC official told Assembly Member Tony Arbour that the body now had an additional responsibility – to protect the Met from “too many demands” for information. It’s a ludicrous statement. As Arbour tartly pointed out, Assembly Members are experienced adults who know how to scrutinise responsibly.
But if the MOPAC really does think the Met needs protecting from AMs, it should rethink its practice of not providing information to them directly and in a speedy manner.
Since the election I’ve heard AMs from all parties complain of delays in getting information from MOPAC on behalf of constituents. Arbour’s response today shows how even those on the Mayor’s own side are losing patience.
The row over responsibilities is becoming tiresome and starting to look like deliberate obstinance on the part of MOPAC, especially given the very clear statements the Mayor has made on the issue.
At September Mayor’s Question Time session, Boris stated:
“As for the role of the Assembly, what I have always said, when we embarked on the reforms and I effectively became the Commissioner for London, it was always going to be in my mind that the function of the Assembly was to provide the scrutiny function of the old Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) and I stick to that.”
So what was the MPA’s scrutiny function? Its archived website is very clear on this:
“The MPA scrutinises and supports the work of the Metropolitan Police Service.”
“The MPA holds the Commissioner rigorously to account and ensures an effective and efficient police service.”
That’s the role the Assembly is trying to discharge, it’s the role the Mayor says they should discharge. It’s time for Boris to order his policing deputy mayor and officials to stop blocking their efforts.