Supporting police (Supplementary) [4]

Session date: 
September 14, 2011
Question By: 
Tony Arbour
Organisation: 
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

Given, Mr Mayor, that in my boroughs - Richmond, Kingston and Hounslow - we had very little riot action, if I can put it that way, because the Borough Commanders flooded the streets with every conceivable part of the police body who could wear a uniform and, therefore, frightened away these people, do you not think it would be a good idea if police in the employ of the MPS, while they are travelling to work and on public duties, were to wear uniforms, particularly given that they receive free fares as part of their package? If they were to do this it would demonstrate, firstly, that there are very many uniformed police available within the Metropolis, and secondly, it would provide the reassurance that Londoners require.

Supplementary To: 

Answer

Answer for Supporting police (Supplementary) [4]

Answer for Supporting police (Supplementary) [4]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

I think it is a very interesting proposal, and it is one that I have brought up with various candidates for the post that we have just appointed. I think it is something that the MPA should definitely consider. The difficulty that has been put to me is that, if you are asking officers to come to work in uniform, they have to have the full panoply of protection that they normally carry. The difficulty is that that stuff is generally stored at the station or the place of work, so you have issues around where to keep it, where to keep it securely, and how all that will work and how, indeed, it will be ensured. There are practical objections that have been raised around cost, but the idea of expanding the police presence, which is what you would effectively do because you would be uniforming them up at all times of the day, is an interesting one and one that is well worth pursuing.

Tony Arbour (AM): I very much hope, Mr Mayor, if those are the only objections which are being proposed to officers wearing uniforms, the overwhelming value of increasing that police presence should surely be sufficient to provide a couple of lockers. That is a most extraordinary reason for policemen wanting to hide their presence under a bushel.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): That is one way of putting it, Tony. I think you will find that, when you bite into it, there will be complications and there will be issues that have to looked at. All I am suggesting to you is that it is a good idea, but it is one that needs to defeat several immediate objections that are currently being raised. I am not saying that is impossible, but it is an argument that needs to be had.

Roger Evans (AM): During the riots, it was suggested that one of the difficulties the police had was that they were treating the incidents as protests long after they had ceased to be protests and were clearly acts of crime. Do you share my concern, Mr Mayor, that elements of the media, in particular the BBC, were referring to these people as protestors long after it was clear to the rest of us that they were criminals?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I think that is extraordinary, if that is true.