Metropolitan Police Authority member Jenny Jones AM has warned Boris Johnson of the need to ensure policing in the capital “doesn’t become a political football.”
Jones spoke out after fellow London Assembly Member and MPA Deputy Chair Kit Malthouse told the Guardian newspaper he and Mayor Johnson had “elbowed the Home Office out of the picture” and had seized control of Scotland Yard.
Although he readily conceded the Mayor “cannot tell the commissioner what to do” Malthouse added “we can say what we think the priorities are and the police authority can set the priorities.”
In a statement issued Thursday Jones said: “A modern police service needs to be accountable to the people it serves and in London, that means the Metropolitan Police Authority. The London Mayor chairs the police authority, but key decisions are made by a mixture of cross party consensus and independent minded individuals.”
“Boris does not have a guaranteed majority on the Metropolitan Police Authority. The principle of policing by consent can only be guaranteed if the London mayor works hard to maintain a consensus on the police authority and to ensure that policing doesn’t become a political football. Issues like the death of Ian Tomlinson and the policing of the recent climate camp show how the police authority as a whole, rather than Boris alone, can really have an influence.”
Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson has also reacted to the comments, saying “I do not want anyone to be under the misapprehension that Scotland Yard or the Metropolitan Police Service is under the operational control of any political party.”
“While the Home Office and the police authority have a right to set priorities, I set operational strategy. All operational decisions are taken without fear or favour for any political interest.”