MQT on 2011-09-14
Session date: 
September 14, 2011
Question By: 
Roger Evans
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Do you think all police should receive riot-training?

Supplementary Questions: 


Answer for Riot-training

Answer for Riot-training

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Thanks, Roger. This is something that Tim Godwin himself has thought about, and did wonder whether we had enough Level 2 trained public order officers in London, and there are steps being taken to increase capability, although obviously there are funding issues.

Roger Evans (AM): Yes. Mr Mayor, it would be good if you could join me in congratulating the police in Redbridge, who found themselves on the Monday night having had to clear the high street in Ilford, having had a large number of their officers abstracted to deal with incidents elsewhere. They had to deploy around a dozen officers, including detectives and front door staff who were not trained or equipped to deal with public order offences, and they did a fantastic job of breaking up a potential situation there. Would it not be helpful for more of those officers to have at least basic crowd control training so that, when they find themselves in a situation like that, they are accustomed to what they are likely to expect?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Yes, and I do certainly congratulate officers in Redbridge for what they did, as indeed I congratulate the overwhelming body of men and women in the Metropolitan Police Force/Service for everything they achieved, and they really did a fantastic job of bringing those disturbances under control with minimal injury and loss of life.

Roger Evans (AM): Wider public order training among officers, of course, would also reduce that need to abstract officers from other areas to deal with situations in particular boroughs, so will you consider it very seriously?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): It is already being considered, Roger, but thank you all the same.

James Cleverly (AM): Mr Mayor, I intend to raise a similar question to this in the MPA, but I would interested in your thoughts on this one. During the Monday evening when a number of borough police officers were extracted from both Bexley and Bromley, a disorder broke out in the London borough of Bromley because they were, to a large extent, denuded of officers. Would you support my calls for the increased number of Level 2 riot-trained officers to come primarily from the significant number of desk-based officers in buildings like New Scotland Yard, Empress State Building and around the place rather than having the borough police officers being the first port of call for reinforcements in those public order situations?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): James, obviously everybody wants to get officers out from behind their desks and onto the streets as far as we possibly can. I know that is what Bernard Hogan-Howe will be wanting to do, and I look forward to what you say in the MPA to achieve that, but patently there is a massive body of work going on at the moment. I was quite pleased the other day to see that Policy Exchange did a report about the success in civilianisation of various police forces, and the Metropolitan Police Service came out at or near the top in terms of getting civilians to do jobs that had been done by warranted officers, and liberating warranted officers to go out and police the streets.

James Cleverly (AM): Thank you, Mr Mayor.

Steve O'Connell (AM): On the same theme, first of all, would you share with me a suggestion that we celebrate very much increase in the numbers of specials and would be moving towards 6,000 specials under your administration? That is to be welcomed. I will declare an interest. My son has just got his warrant card. I had better say that. I thought I would clear that up.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Fantastic.