This morning Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe and members of his senior team were questioned about the Met’s performance and plans to increase public confidence in the force.
The meeting was the second ‘MOPAC challenge’ to be held since the old Metropolitan Police Authority was replaced by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime and London Assembly Police and Crime Committee.
You can be forgiven for not knowing it was taking place.
The only press release I and other journalists received announcing it was an ‘Ops Note’ which arrived on Monday asking that we pre-register our attendance. This was clearly marked “Not for publication”, a request we’re obliged to honour.
No announcement for the meeting appeared on the front of london.gov.uk, neither does it appear on the Public Meetings section of the site. The only reference is buried away on the MOPAC section which is itself not very well flagged up.
Even London Assembly members I met on the way into City Hall were unaware the meeting was taking place.
The meeting was webcast but the lack of pre-publicity meant the only people in the public gallery were representatives of activist & community groups, City Hall and Met staff and a couple of journos.
While shy about telling Londoners before the meeting, City Hall found themselves able to issue a press release once it was underway and it was too late for interested citizens to attend.
The creation of the MOPAC was meant to help bring Londoners closer to the Met and help build confidence that they were responding to their concerns. That can’t happen if the public are excluded, even if by omission rather than design, from scrutiny meetings.