Boris needs to get a grip of MOPAC and ensure it stops blocking police scrutiny

MOPAC is blocking the Assembly’s attempts to hold the Met to account.

The turf war between MOPAC – the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime – and the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee continues.

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.


  1. Damian Hockney says

    The prevention of scrutiny, which I stated at the time was the real agenda behind the abolition of the MPA, has clearly come to pass. And there is another way in which you can spot an attempt to conceal the truth about this aspect of London governance – the house journal of the Conservative Party (the Daily Telegraph) is spreading propaganda in articles of the incredible success of “Boris’ policing arrangements”, as a way of diverting from the reality of what has been done to oversight and other aspects of policing. In the run up to the general election, the Telegraph is doing this in many ways, the most absurd and false being in regard to the EU: the article yesterday about Britain now being effectively out of the EU should guarantee its author a padded cell somewhere if evidence of lack of connection with reality and truth is ever called upon by a doctor. Hidden agenda? Of course, the UKIP rise in the polls to equal the LibDems and to ensure that the Tories will not win. So journalists on the strength simply fabricate absurd constructs to imply “no need to vote UKIP, job done”. Mercifully the electorate is not so stupid and can see that the EU still makes 80% of our laws and there is not one EU Directive you can “repatriate” (you can only use the Tony Blair opt-out already in place in the few areas we have them).

  2. Stephanie Taylor says

    To what extent do you agree that the introduction of PCCs will improve police relations with the public.

  3. Old Bill says

    Why is it the Met Police oversee crime on buses and the British Transport Police do the tube ?
    BTP seems to need a wake up Boris needs to merge them both save money BTP take ages to get CCTV it seems any time a case comes into print we read closer and discover it happened about six months before.
    What are the stats fro Transport crime ? Does Boris ever publish what his 160 million TFL/Met deal actually does ?