Mayor Boris Johnson is considering setting up a new standards committee to examine complaints of unethical behaviour by Metropolitan Police officers.
In recent weeks the Met has faced allegations that officers sought to undermine the family of Stephen Lawrence and bugged conversations between Lawrence’s friend Duwayne Brooks and his lawyer.
The force has opened an investigation to establish what happened and who approved any action.
It is also conducting inquiries into complaints that undercover officers appropriated the names of dead babies and that some officers entered long-term relationships with surveillance targets, in some instances fathering children.
Appearing before the House of Commons Home Affairs select committee on Tuesday, the Mayor said he is exploring creating a team to investigate future complaints about unethical behaviour by officers.
Questioned by MPs about the cost of current investigations into officer conduct, the Mayor rejected suggestions that the Met was spending too much money, saying: “yes we want to do these things as cheaply as possible but…consistent with justice, they have to be properly investigated.”
He added: “In the end we’re taking about public confidence in policing”.
A recent BBC poll showed public confidence in the Met had been damaged by recent headlines, 37% of poll respondents said they were less likely to trust the force as a result of the revelations.
Mr Johnson says the public would be reassured that a body outside the Met was examining future complaints and areas of concern.
City Hall officials stress that the plans are at an early stage and that the exact nature of the new ethics and standards board, which would exist within the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, had yet to be decided.
Commenting on the Mayor’s remarks, Jenny Jones, a member of the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee, said: “The devil will be in the detail, but such a body could be very powerful, being both at the heart of the Mayor’s office which is meant to hold the Met to account, and entirely London focused.
“But the Mayor needs to get the powers and processes right and to work with the London Assembly to ensure his proposals have broad support. I’d be happy to be part of the new body and to help ensure it delivers for Londoners, who must have full confidence in their police.”
Police & Crime Committee chair and Labour Assembly Member Joanne McCartney added: “We have been asking the MOPAC to look into the governance of professional standards and undercover policing for over a year. Only now is the Mayor ‘thinking about’ setting up an Ethics Committee, the thinking of which is only at an early stage. So far he has failed dismally in these duties.
“We await full details of how any committee will operate, but it must ensure effective governance of current operations, not just past cases.”