Lord Carlile, the former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, is to Chair a new panel examining the ethics and quality of policing in the capital.
In July Mayor Boris Johnson announced plans to examine the Met’s practices following a number of complaints about the conduct of undercover officers.
Concerns have been raised about the force’s historic use of dead babies’ names to create cover identities for undercover officers and that some officers entered long-term relationships with surveillance targets, in some instances fathering children.
Mayor Johnson has made boosting public confidence in the Met a key objective for the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) which sets the force’s budget and overseas its performance.
Lord Carlile is a former Liberal Democrat MP for the Welsh seat of Montgomery and was created a Life Peer in 1999.
Outside of Parliament he became a QC in 1984 and became a Deputy High Court Judge and Honorary Recorder of the City of Hereford in 1996. Hs served as the Government’s Independent Reviewer of terrorism legislation from 2001 until February 2011.
City Hall says the Ethics Panel will examine issues of public concern around the ethics and quality of policing and make recommendations to MOPAC boss Stephen Greenhalgh, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, and Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe.
The panel will operate alongside MOPAC and the London Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee which has been invited by the Mayor to feedback on how the Panel operates and the topics it might explore.
Announcing the appointment, Deputy Mayor Greenhalgh said: “I am delighted that someone with the seniority and expertise of Lord Carlile has agreed to serve London in this way.
“This new panel will be truly independent and will offer advice on ethical issues that will help the Mayor’s Office in its role to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of the Met and to boost public confidence in policing.’
Lord Carlile said: ‘I am very pleased to be asked by the Mayor to undertake this important role and I am now getting to work agreeing the parameters on how this Panel will operate.’
The appointment has been welcomed by all parties on the London Assembly.
Joanne McCartney, Labour Assembly Member and Chair of the Police and Crime Committee, said: “I welcome Lord Carlisle’s appointment as Chair of the Ethics Panel and hope he will bring much needed independent oversight into the challenging area of professional standards at the Met.
“He will need a robust team to work with him, both for the sake of public confidence in policing and the vast majority of police officers in London who uphold the highest ethical standards. The first challenge will be to consult widely to establish in detail how the panel will work.
“The Assembly Police and Crime Committee look forward to sharing our knowledge and experience with Lord Carlisle to assist him in this role.”
Green Party AM, Baroness Jones, said: “I welcome the appointment of Lord Carlile QC to head up the ethics panel within the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime.”
“If this panel is to really be effective then it needs to have access to information and the necessary powers to compel the Commissioner and the Met to implement its recommendations.
“I’d like to see the panel tackling issues such as police misconduct and complaints which undermine trust in the police. I’d also like to see the on-going scandal of undercover policing at the top of their agenda.”
Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, said: “Lord Carlile’s legal expertise and record of independent judgment are second to none.
“There is a vast amount of work that now needs to be undertaken by the Ethics Panel. Appointing such an impressive chair is an encouraging good start.”
Roger Evans AM, the Conservative Assembly group’s Policing Spokesman, said: “I’m pleased that the Mayor has persuaded such an eminent person to head up the Ethics Panel, and I’m interested to see who else will be appointed.
“I am particularly interested in seeing how the panel will operate – will it be reacting to issues as they emerge or will it take a proactive approach which promotes ethical behaviour from the top of Scotland Yard to the front line. A comprehensive piece of work is vital to deal with the recent damage the Met has suffered to its reputation.”