London Assembly Members have expressed concern at the departure of City Hall’s most senior policing officials.
On Monday BBC London reported that Catherine Crawford, chief executive of Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPC), and her deputy have both left without a handover period.
Crawford was the head of the Metropolitan Police Authority from its inception in 2000 while Ms Harwood joined the body in April 2008. Both transferred to MOPC when it took over some of the Authority’s functions at the start of 2012.
The BBC reports that Deputy Mayor for Policing Stephen Greenhalgh “will be in overall charge of MOPC and senior managers will look after the day-to-day working” while replacements are recruited.
Mr Greenhalgh recently made headlines when he appeared before the London Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee without Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe and found himself unable to answer questions from AMs.
Joanne McCartney, Chair of the Assembly policing committee and Labour’s policing spokesperson, described Crawford and Harwood as “excellent public servants” and said their “vast experience” had been lost “at a crucial time”.
Ms McCartney added: “With the Olympics just four weeks away it is very concerning that the staff have left, I will be asking an urgent question of the Mayor about this at Mayor’s Question Time tomorrow”
Liberal Democrat AM Caroline Pidgeon said it was “shocking that public servants with vast experience should go so quickly after new Deputy Mayor for Policing has started.”
Ms Pidgeon added: “Given the Deputy Mayor’s performance to date you would have thought he would want to surround himself with experienced people.”
Green Party AM Jenny Jones suggested it was fair for Mr Greenhalgh “to find people he knows and trusts for such a big job” but cautioned that the pair represented a “lot of institutional memory to dump all at once”.