Boris Johnson’s first outing as Chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority saw the Mayor come under fire for failing to consult members on the future of Sir Ian Blair. This morning’s meeting also heard a call for the Mayor to take a lead in talking up the positive contribution made by London’s youth.
Speaking this morning the Mayor said he was “proud” to be chairing the meeting and said it was “vital that the Mayor takes responsibility for making our capital a safer place.”
Mr Johnson opened the meeting by paying tribute both to Sir Ian and the force as a whole and expressed his admiration for officers across all areas of police work who contribute to making the capital safer. But he was repeatedly pressed over his failure to consult the MPA before speaking to Blair last week.
Speaking after the meeting Jenny Jones, who also represents the Green Party on the London Assembly, said it was “important” there was consensus on the MPA about how to police the capital. She added: “the way the Mayor usurped the authority of the MPA over Ian Blair’s resignation broke that consensus, as he failed to listen to a range of Londoners’ views, as represented on the MPA.”
In the wake of Sir Ian’s resignation last week the Commissioner’s report, which outlines progress by the Metropolitan Police Service in delivering its objectives, was presented by Deputy Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson who is widely expected to succeed Blair in the top job.
Sir Paul told members of the Authority that both knife and gun the capital were down as was youth related crime and that the high levels of youths killed in knife crime was a “mystery” when seen against the downwards trends. He also announced that tactics previously used to tackle serious and organised crime were being deployed against those suspected of gang related activity.
Citing his own figures that only 2% of youths stopped were found to carry knives, members raised concerns that “rudeness” by officers and a presumption of guilt on the part of those being searched could undermine relationships between the Met and younger people.
Mayor Johnson was quizzed over plans for an investigation into “the progression of BME candidates through the ranks of the service, the relation between staff associations and management, and the extent to which there is visible and effective leadership around race and faith issues.”
Some MPA members warned that for many complainants the body was seen as part of the problem and suggested that an independent investigation might be needed. MPA officials insist that a majority of inquiry members will be appointed from outside the body to reflect those concerns.
Although it attracted only minimal discussion, here was some criticism of plans to pay London Assembly members an allowance for their work on the Authority.
The changes will see AMs sitting on the body earn an additional £9,327. There are also additional allowances of £11,346 for Chairmen of the Strategic & Operational Policing; Finance & Resources; Communities, Equalities & People and Corporate Governance committees and £3,766 for Chairmen of approved formal sub-committees.
An allowance of £55,000 is to be paid to the Chairman of the Authority however as the Mayor has taken on this role it can instead be paid to his designated Vice Chairman, currently Kit Malthouse.
A report presented to the meeting said the new allowances, which are due to take effect from 10th October, are intended to reflect “that whilst assembly members are paid to be assembly members, those who serve on the MPA have accepted an additional commitment.”