Boris Johnson has seconded a Home Office civil servant to fill the leadership “vacuum” within the Mayor’s Office for Policing following the departure of its CEO.
Catherine Crawford and her deputy Jane Harwood left MOPC without a handover period or successors being appointed.
London Assembly Members expressed concern that the unexpected departures had created a “knowledge gap” just as the Olympics presented the Metropolitan Police with its biggest peacetime policing challenge.
Earlier this month AMs rejected a request from the Mayor to appoint City Hall’s head of paid service as MOPC’s interim Chief Executive.
In a letter to the Assembly, Johnson’s Chief of Staff Sir Eddie Lister said the Mayor believed an interim appointment was necessary to ensure “there are adequate senior management arrangements” in place “given the recent appointment“ of Stephen Greenhalgh as Deputy Mayor for Policing.
Mr Greenhalgh angered AMs last month he appeared before the Police and Crime Committee without Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe and found himself unable to answer their questions .
Appealing for support for Mr Lister’s request, Tory AM Tony Arbour said there was “a vacuum” at the top of the MOPC, a situation Green, Labour and Liberal Democrat AMs said was down to the Mayor and his deputy.
Green AM Jenny Jones said Assembly Members were being asked to “clean up a mess” created by the Mayor’s staff while Labour’s Andrew Dismore said it was “ludicrous” for the Mayor to seek AMs’ help without explaining the circumstances of Crawford and Harwood’s departures.
Johnson has now seconded Home Office Director Paul Pugh to head up the MOPC for a three month period until a permanent appointment can be made.
Mr Pugh is currently Director of Operations at the Identity and Passport Service and was previously Director of the Police and Crime Standards Directorate.
In a mailing to MOPC staff, Greenhalgh said Pugh “will be based at City Hall but will spend time with staff in Dean Farrar Street”.
Greenhalgh also expressed hope that the search for a permanent CEO “would be completed over the summer”.