The London Assembly says Mayor Boris Johnson must provide greater detail and evidence to back up his “broad brush” proposals for reforming the Metropolitan Police Service.
The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) recently completed a public consultation on the Mayor’s draft Police and Crime Plan, which includes proposals to axe specialist crime units and reduce front counters.
Under the reforms, officers currently tasked with solving crimes such as car theft and robbery would go back into the wider policing pool and all PCs would gain new skills allowing them to investigate reported crimes.
Victims and witnesses of crime would no longer need to give a statement at a police station, instead officers could arrange to meet them a location of their choice such as at home or a relative or friend’s property.
MOPAC has said the reforms would transform the Met into a modern public service which puts the needs of its users at the heart of its working practices.
Although City Hall and the Met say the changes would see more officers deployed in boroughs, the number of officers dedicated to Safer Neighbourhood Teams would be reduced.
The changes are part of the Met’s response to budget cuts which have forced it to consider selling its Scotland Yard HQ.
The Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee has published a list of recommendations it says should be implemented to ensure the public can have confidence the plan will deliver improvements in policing.
These include providing more information about how the proposed new policing model will strengthen neighbourhood policing and regular reports on the Met’s progress in meeting crime reduction targets.
Assembly Members also want Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe to “consider increasing the number of named and/or dedicated officers allocated to local areas.”
In a letter to the Mayor accompanying the formal response, the Committee says the final plan “should provide much-needed clarity and details of the funding available to deliver the Mayor’s priorities for community safety.”
AMs also want the plan to “include far greater detail on the MPS’s efforts to address community concerns around stop and search” and have expressed concern that the draft plan lacks this information.
The Committee, which is responsible for scrutinising the MOPAC and investigating policing matters on behalf of Londoners, says it will “seek to bring greater transparency to the use of stop and search by investigating this topic later this year.”
Committee Chair Joanne McCartney AM said: “The Mayor’s plan for policing London is long on catchy headlines but short on evidence to show how its aspirational targets have been set and more importantly how they will be achieved.
“It also lacks the specific detail to demonstrate how its broad brush proposals will work in the complex landscape of tackling crime in our capital city.
“We want to see a robust plan for policing that can command the confidence of public, police officers and staff, and everyone working to deliver a safer London. That will require MOPAC to put a lot more effort, evidence and detail into the plan before the Mayor should sign up to it.”