Local Policing - Resources and Visibility

Meeting: 
MQT on 2014-10-22
Session date: 
October 22, 2014
Reference: 
2014/3658
Question By: 
Joanne McCartney
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor
Category: 

Question

In your review on the Local Policing Model what areas have you so far identified for change or improvement?

Answer

Answer for Local Policing - Resources and Visibility

Answer for Local Policing - Resources and Visibility

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  The Local Policing Model (LPM) is barely a year old and we are still drawing conclusions about its operation.  However, just so you know, we are doing a review and, as soon as we have more to give you about the changes that we think are necessary, we will of course share them. 

The objective is, as you know, to get more officers into neighbourhood teams and to get more visibility.  I know you have a concern about visibility in some areas and, where we can address those, we will. 

Joanne McCartney AM:  Thank you.  Mr Mayor, we were told by the Deputy Commissioner at our last Police and Crime Committee that the Metropolitan Police Service’s review into the LPM was going to the management board last Tuesday and that it would be sent straight away the following day to the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC).  Have you actually seen that? 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I have not seen it, I am sorry to say, but as soon as we have something to give you, we shall. 

Joanne McCartney AM:  Thank you.  Mr Mayor, can I just check a few things with you, though?  When we changed to the LPM, you assured Londoners that the minimum they would have per ward would be one police constable (PC) and one police community support officer (PCSO).  Is that still a commitment that you are prepared to make? 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  The LPM guarantees one PC and one PCSO per ward and guarantees that they will not be extracted except for exceptional events. 

Joanne McCartney AM:  OK.  Is that a commitment you are prepared to make going forward and that you are not going to strip that down further? 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Yes.  Just so you know, in Haringey and Enfield, which you represent, there has been an increase in officers, for instance ‑‑ 

Joanne McCartney AM:  I am asking about the minimum per ward.  Are you guaranteeing going forward that that one PC and one PCSO will be the minimum? 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Yes, that is the commitment under the LPM. 

Joanne McCartney AM:  OK.  You are going to have that commitment going forward? 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  To the best of my knowledge, that is the intention. 

Joanne McCartney AM:  The reason I ask is because the Commissioner told us in July that he thought the balance had gone the wrong way and that he might need to put some more dedicated officers back in. 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Back into Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs)? 

Joanne McCartney AM:  Yes.  However, Stephen Greenhalgh, your Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, on 9 October said that he was actually unsure and I am quoting him, 

“Creating a universal entitlement of ‘these are the number of officers in neighbourhoods’ at a ward level is [certainly] not ... right either.” 

There seems to be some difference between the two and I want your guarantee that you are not going to strip it back further. 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I see what you are driving at, but I do not think there is much inconsistency there, really.  Both Stephen and Bernard [Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis] are committing to having an SNT per ward, as we always have been. 

The exact numbers clearly have to be a bit flexible.  That is what I have always said.  The original geometry of the SNTs and endlessly telling Londoners that every ward would have a certain pyramid formation of officers and PCSOs I thought was always unrealistic and not likely to be the best formula for fighting crime.  The acid test is what is happening with the numbers and crime is coming down, as you know, very substantially and is down about 6% just in one year. 

Joanne McCartney AM:  Can I just come to that point you have just made, Mr Mayor.  I am glad you have made the commitment that it is not going to be stripped down further.  Residents are telling me and I am going to quote from a couple of residents here, one from the Green Street area in North Enfield, who says, 

“Over the last year things have got worse around here.  We don’t ever see police patrolling the streets.” 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Green Street? 

Joanne McCartney AM:  Hold on.  I have already quoted at the last meeting to you that residents associations are complaining that their policing teams do not report back to them anymore and that they often cancel attendance at very short notice. 

I have tried to find out by putting Mayor’s Questions to you how many officers I have in my wards who are dedicated and how many are in this flexible number that can move around.  You have been unable to give that to me, saying that the Metropolitan Police Service does not hold that data centrally.  It begs the question to me how you can know what is going on and monitor it if the Metropolitan Police Service is not actually providing that ‑‑ 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Presumably, you have raised it with the Borough Commander, have you? 

Joanne McCartney AM:  Yes, but I am asking ‑‑ 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  What has he told you? 

Joanne McCartney AM:  Hold on.  I am asking across London and I am told that the Metropolitan Police Service does not hold it centrally.  How can they monitor and how can you then monitor them and have oversight?  Will you look into that, Mr Mayor?  It seems to be a gap in the data collection. 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I am interested by what you say.  All I can say is that in the figures I have - and I have figures for Enfield and Haringey - for the officers appointed to neighbourhoods, for instance, in Enfield there will be by next year 144 compared to 61 in 2011.  That is an increase of 136%. 

Joanne McCartney AM:  You are talking about neighbourhoods as a whole.  Mr Mayor, I think you are missing the point. 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  In Haringey, there will be an increase from 55 to 144 and that is a 162% increase.  What we are trying to do is to get officers out on the streets. 

Joanne McCartney AM:  Mr Mayor, I think you are missing the point.  We have this number of officers, but the Metropolitan Police Service does not hold data centrally as to how many of them are dedicated to wards and how many of them are in a flexible model.  We know that they are abstracted.  I want that data ‑‑ 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Of course, one of the things that we have been very clear on is that you have to give Borough Commanders some flexibility as to how they run their SNTs.  That is the way to bring down crime.  I repeat what I said: crime is coming down very substantially.  The commitment that we have made is that there will be one PC and one PCSO in every ward. 

I am very happy, obviously, to find out from your Borough Commanders - and I am sure you can do it yourself, but I am very happy to do it on your behalf - the composition of the SNTs in your constituency. 

Joanne McCartney AM:  I am interested in it across London as a whole, Mr Mayor. 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I am sure that information is not too difficult to obtain from your Borough Commander.