Boris Johnson’s new Deputy Mayor for Policing angered London Assembly members this morning by “advising” Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe not to appear before them.
Stephen Greenhalgh told Assembly Members he thought Hogan-Howe was too busy to appear before the Police and Crime Committee which scrutinises the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPC).
Greenhalgh’s stance directly contradicted the stance of the previous police Deputy Kit Malthouse who told this site in January: “While I’m Deputy Mayor for Policing and Boris is Mayor it would be inconceivable that the commissioner will not accept an invitation to appear in front of the Assembly and answer questions.”
AMs were told of Hogan-Howe’s non-appearance just 8 minutes before the start of this morning’s meeting.
During the meeting Greenhalgh appeared under briefed and was unable to answer questions, including those from Green Party AM Jenny Jones on the HMIC report which found offers acted outside their terms of reference by having sex with those under surveillance.
Speaking after the meeting committee chair Joanne McCartney said: ““When the new arrangements for policing in London were established the then Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime said that it would be inconceivable that the Commissioner would not accept an invitation to appear before the Assembly.
“Sadly today his successor has prevented London’s elected representatives from hearing directly from the capital’s chief of police.”
On Twitter LibDem AM Caroline Pidgeon said: “I think after his performance today [the Deputy Mayor] may realise why he needs Met by his side.”
Ms Jones said: “Today’s performance from the new Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime was a shambles. With 36 days to go before the Olympics the Deputy Mayor said he had not been briefed on policing for the Games and was unable to answer even simple questions on the policing issues Londoners care about, which highlighted the need to have the Commissioner present to be held to account.
“After today I think the Deputy Mayor will have a long way to go before Londoners fully trust that he has a firm grip on the Met and isn’t leaving a worrying gap in the Mayor’s accountability on policing.”