Crime figures (Supplementary) [3]

Session date: 
October 23, 2002
Question By: 
Graham Tope
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


I think both Richard Barnes and I would agree that is very unfair to Toby Harris.

The Mayor: Whoever has got the money has got the power.

Graham Tope: I would like to think I had the money! Can I then try and pin you down a little more? We have in six boroughs already, a pathfinder project for devolved budgeting. In one of those boroughs, the Borough Commander has decided, with agreement locally, that he will reduce the number of police officers in that borough in order to increase civilian staff and provide, in his view, more effective policing in that borough. That is one borough; how would you feel if the other 31 Borough Commanders took a similar view with the obvious consequence of not such a great increase in numbers but a greater increase in effective policing?

Supplementary To: 


Answer for Crime figures (Supplementary) [3]

Answer for Crime figures (Supplementary) [3]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

How I would feel would depend on how it works out in practice. If the local commander has got it right and what we see is a reduction in crime levels and people in that borough feeling more secure and they are getting a better police service, then I would like to see that approach spread throughout the other areas. Part of the prospect of devolution is that people are allowed to try and they will either succeed or they will not succeed.

The weakness is within the MPA - and it is the weakness at the core, the centre leadership - and it is where you get very good practice in one borough, it does not necessarily spread through the rest of the MPA. The MPA has not got that sort of attitude that built up in local government in London over the last 20 years of difficult retrenchment, which comes from the leadership pushing best practice through an entire structure. The MPA hasn't been structured like that; there is not the core of leading officers for whom that is the primary responsibility. All the pressure is, "Number 10 is on the phone again; street crime has got to be down by September", and the focus is always on responding to pressures and not developing the strong management techniques, which many other public sector bodies have had to go through over the last 20 years. That is a weakness; good practice does not spread through the Met as it would do through some other organisations and it is a weakness we have to address in the months to come. I am not going to prejudge an initiative by local commanders, that is how we will learn what works and what does not.