Undercover Officers (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
October 25, 2012
Question By: 
Len Duvall OBE
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 

Question

Very quickly, on the compensation issue of any compensation paid, look, you are making massive cuts to our services here in London. I hope that you are going to recover any monies that have to be paid, if they are paid eventually, from the owner of this or from the Association of Chief Police Officers Terrorism and Allied Matters (ACPO TAM) who were meant to be supervising these officers. I do not think the MPS should be paying for that and I hope it is not going to be further cuts. We need to follow that and MOPAC needs to be on top of this to make sure that it is giving that money back. That is its role.

On overseas deployments, not undercover deployments, but where we are commissioned by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to do work in the overseas territories, former dependants, and such, there has been a recent case that was, I think, the Cayman Islands where one of our officers got themselves into difficulty, was sued, counter-sued. The MPS rightly supported that officer in dealing with the legal challenges he has faced. On the wider issues of that particular deployment, are there any lessons that the MPS is learning about the commissioning of overseas from the FCO, the terms of reference of how we are doing it or not doing it? That is all part of the problems around this legal case. What lessons are being learned and have they been taken on board? Is MOPAC supervising that, because that seems to be MOPAC territory, not just yours? You should be passing that to MOPAC saying, 'Here we are. This has happened. What else has happened?' Has that happened, because I think the legal case is being concluded? I am not sure.

Supplementary To: 

Answer

Answer for Undercover Officers (Supplementary) [1]

Answer for Undercover Officers (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 

Andrew Morley (Interim Chief Executive, Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime): I can take that. Under section 26, MOPAC does have a role. Under the scheme of delegation, the Chief Executive has to approve all requests prior to seeking authorisation from the Home Secretary. There are three chief categories of deployment. One is when it fits with the government issuing a national security strategy, so that is providing policing assistance to specific countries. That is funded by the FCO. Where there is a direct international request from the MPS for assistance, skills, training, etc, for any investigation, the MPS would consider the case and its costs. Where the MPS has a stake or interest in a programme abroad, an international conference, best practice, etc, and officers are assigned to attend. We have to sign those off, before we get permission.

I am told that the volume this year has been very low. I have been told fewer than five. Bizarrely, I have not been told how many. I have just been told fewer than five, but we have very few numbers.

Len Duvall (AM): I think the issue is learning the lessons of what I think was a fiasco. Not a fiasco on our part. The officers that were involved did their jobs diligently, but in terms of the tasking, because it is not just the money from the FCO, they are commissioning you to do the investigation. When the MPS's reputation is caught up in murky other issues and agendas, that it is a problem, it seems to me, particularly in some of the areas around, whether it is money laundering, corruption, those issues.

If we have gone in to do an honest job and it comes back and there are ramifications and it ends up that we have spent money that we should not have had to spend, again I think that is a claim against the FCO. Sorry, it is not the MPS, and the MPS has paid that money to that officer through those legal proceedings. Can someone tell us maybe in writing what those lessons learned are and will we, MOPAC, be recovering the money from the FCO? Maybe the police ought to think more carefully how - of course, you cannot say no - but how do you have some protection of our officers who go into those places to do a job, in terms of their integrity and the comeback that follows on afterwards?

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): If I can pick up. Absolutely, I agree totally with the points you raise. I think just for clarity, that issue may still be live in the Cayman Islands.

Len Duvall (AM): Oh it is still live.

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): I think. I am only going from a briefing I had a few weeks ago, so I think that might still be a live case. I think, if we can go to your general points, it is supported by the desire to see officers being deployed abroad being reduced. It is around saying, 'What are the proper controls? What are the benefits for the people of London or the people of the UK? Is it about enhancing the reputation of the MPS?' In terms of learning lessons, these things sometimes have quite a long tail that you did not envisage when they first came. I think that is a point well made.

Andrew Morley (Interim Chief Executive, Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime): In terms of criteria, the things that we would be looking at within MOPAC would be political sensitivity, high risk deployment and high cost. I think I can say with some confidence that, as a matter of principle, costs that we have incurred as a consequence of supporting or assisting other agencies and bodies we would always look to recover, so as not to detract from the service provided to London. What happened in this individual case, I do not know, but as a matter of principle we would.

Len Duvall (AM): My understanding on the individual case, it was no fault of the officer in the sense of being caught up in some of those issues. It is that we were dragged into the legal courts arising from the investigation. Therefore, I think there is full cost recovery from the FCO and it should not come out of the MPS's coffers in terms of that.

Andrew Morley (Interim Chief Executive, Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime): I think we would agree with you and we would absolutely --

Len Duvall (AM): Not when we are making the cuts on the level that we are doing. We would expect the Home Office to be supporting us and, if they are quiet, they should be exposed.

Andrew Morley (Interim Chief Executive, Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime): I think we would agree with you.