Borough Command Units (Supplementary) [3]

Session date: 
October 25, 2012
Question By: 
Caroline Pidgeon
Organisation: 
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 

Question

I just want to be absolutely clear on this, because you are saying there are a range of options, but the Metropolitan Police Service has a model, one Metropolitan Police Service model that has been approved by the MPS management board, which you have been consulting on, and in that model, the model has a basis of sharing chief superintendents across a number of boroughs. That is part of this model that you have consulted on, so it is one model that you are consulting on, not a range of options, is that right?

Supplementary To: 

Answer

Answer for Borough Command Units (Supplementary) [3]

Answer for Borough Command Units (Supplementary) [3]

Answered By: 

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): No. The one Metropolitan Police Service model has been agreed by management board, but that is neighbourhood policing. The first part of neighbourhood policing that is being done is the local policing model, of which the debate around borough commanders is absolutely part of it.

Caroline Pidgeon (Deputy Chair): OK, and then let us just clarify, Andrew, you just said that ultimately the Mayor and MOPAC are going to make the decision on whether there is a sharing of borough commanders, and you have made your position clear.

Andrew Morley (Interim Chief Executive, Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime): Our position in terms of dedicated borough commanders is very clear. The MOPAC position that there will be dedicated borough commanders is one. Secondly, the policing model will need to be agreed with the Mayor as part of the sort of budget settlement and the resource allocation piece, but I am confident that on the basis of discussions today that there will be an agreement over that.

Caroline Pidgeon (Deputy Chair): What rank are these dedicated borough commanders going to be; are they still going to be chief superintendent, and Westminster and Lambeth have a more senior commander, or are they going to be at a much lower level? How low is the rank going to go?

Andrew Morley (Interim Chief Executive, Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime): We have not defined that; that is a matter for the MPS to consider and to come back with some proposals. We will consider that, we will consider their recommendations around that. Clearly we would need to be satisfied that those operating at borough commander level had the authority, seniority and experience to discharge their functions. However, that is a matter for the MPS and we look forward to receiving their plans. The Mayor's position is dedicated borough commanders.

Caroline Pidgeon (Deputy Chair): OK. Now at the Budget and Performance Committee on Tuesday, the Deputy Commissioner made it clear that ultimately this was an operational matter and a matter for the MPS. If you get to a position where the MPS have to make huge savings, they are saying this is the only way they can make savings, they will go ahead and share borough commanders against MOPAC's advice and so on. Where does the buck stop? Craig, can you clarify, you think ultimately

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): I think ultimately we get close to areas of direction and control. I do not think we will end up there; I think we will be able to get to a position where there is a coming together of ideas, but I think this is indicative, as we get into some very difficult areas, as we work through the budget.

Caroline Pidgeon (Deputy Chair): But do you consider this to be an operational matter?

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): I think, when you get to the issues around what is the rank and role of that, yes.

Caroline Pidgeon (Deputy Chair): So sharing borough commanders could be an operational matter?

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): You could argue it is an operational matter.

Caroline Pidgeon (Deputy Chair): So we can see there that you could be at absolute loggerheads.

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): But there is no intention to get to loggerheads. Part of the reason of trying to talk to people is not to end up in loggerheads. I go back to the very sensible question about what is the strategic context and challenge. At the end of the day, things will go out of the Metropolitan Police Service budget that some people will not like. You know, and a number of you spent a number of time looking over the budget earlier in the week; that is the reality.

Caroline Pidgeon (Deputy Chair): OK, thank you.

Jenny Jones (Deputy Chair): Until five days ago, the Mayor's stated decision on police numbers was 32,000. He has now shifted on that; he has broken that pledge. Why should we believe this dedicated borough commander promise any more than the 32,000 police officers promise.

Andrew Morley (Interim Chief Executive, Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime): I have to challenge the premise that he has broken his pledge; that is not the case.

Jenny Jones (Deputy Chair): I have the letter with the

Andrew Morley (Interim Chief Executive, Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime): You have an advantage over the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime because he is yet to see that letter because it came when he was on leave. I also know that there was a statement put out, which I do not intend to read to you, but it is on the record, there was a statement put out last night clarifying the Mayor's position. It said very clearly that the commitment remains unchanged. What I can say, from a MOPAC perspective, we are very clear that we have a funding challenge that we need to meet and within that there is

Jenny Jones (Deputy Chair): I am sorry; that is a repetition. What is still going to be met? Just tell me again, what?

Andrew Morley (Interim Chief Executive, Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime): I can read you the statement, but

Jenny Jones (Deputy Chair): No. Which promise is going to be met?

Andrew Morley (Interim Chief Executive, Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime): To maintain police numbers at or around 32,000.

Jenny Jones (Deputy Chair): So the letter we have is inaccurate?

Andrew Morley (Interim Chief Executive, Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime): As I say, the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime has yet to see that letter so I cannot comment on his behalf on that. There was a statement put out by the Mayor's Office saying that the commitment remains unchanged, and I can only point you to that. I cannot

Jenny Jones (Deputy Chair): Well could we possibly have a copy of that because that is not what we

Andrew Morley (Interim Chief Executive, Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime): It is a statement that went out in the press notice; it is a media statement, so it is on the public record. I am very happy to read it.

Joanne McCartney (Chair): It was in relation to a press inquiry, Jenny.

Jenny Jones (Deputy Chair): We could still see it perhaps.

Andrew Morley (Interim Chief Executive, Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime): It is on the press notice.

Jennette Arnold (AM): Yes, Chair, and I am happy for Craig to refer me to the answers he has given to Caroline, because he has confirmed what I think most people who have been around policing recognise that the rank and role, the control of operations rests with the MPS. That is something that is going on all the time when you are reviewing. I was once shadowing a former Commissioner and on his Monday morning meetings he reorganised his top team, and somebody went to Northern Ireland and blah, blah, blah, and there had been no consultation with anybody, he just thought about it. That operational responsibility, which is natural, which is known, has not changed because of anything that came through with the new legislation. I think Londoners want to know that is fine, because these meetings are about just clarifying things.

Can you just clarify then, because some will know and some will not, you already have about three grades of what I would call top cop to boroughs, do you not?

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): Yes.

Jennette Arnold (AM): Can you just put them on record so that we can be clear? Why I want this to be clear is because the Mayor is a known wordsmith, so in a sense when he talks about borough commander that could be a generic term that could then be linked to a grade.

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): Where we have borough commanders, and I think one of the Members referred to Lambeth and Westminster, it is in fact only Westminster. Westminster has a commander for Westminster. Lambeth has a chief superintendent.

Jennette Arnold (AM): Yes, but can I just stop you there, that commander is at a higher grade.

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): Westminster, given the size, the scale of Westminster, it is the size of police forces outside London, so you are absolutely right to highlight, that is a chief officer grade, he is a commander. The other 31 boroughs are chief superintendents, and then sitting above them on area level, effectively looking at a group of borough commanders, are commanders.

Jennette Arnold (AM): Commanders, right, but not different to somebody who could be called a borough commander. You could, because I have seen the structure that talks about you going back to area really, going back to east, south, north and wherever; that would be

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): That is not a borough I think I understand where you are coming from; that is not a borough commander. You are absolutely right, the current rank across the 32 boroughs of London, i.e. the London boroughs, is chief superintendent with the exception of Westminster.

Joanne McCartney (Chair): What grades would you be looking at possibly to

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): I am not going to speculate. We have not gone into that level of detail, so I do not think it would be right that I speculate.