Front Counters and Contact Points

Meeting: 
MQT on 2014-10-22
Session date: 
October 22, 2014
Reference: 
2014/3659
Question By: 
Joanne McCartney
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor
Category: 

Question

Do you agree with me that MOPAC and the MPS needs to make a substantial improvement to how Contact Points and Front Counters are managed?

Answer

Answer for Front Counters and Contact Points

Answer for Front Counters and Contact Points

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Thank you.  Joanne, you have asked already about the Local Policing Model (LPM).  Actually, on the contact points, there is always room for revision and improvement but in many ways things are going well.  Across London, we have seen a big increase in appointments with the police with 178,999 more appointments this year than last year.  That is a 35% increase, just in case you need to know.  There is all-time satisfaction now amongst the public about the ease of contact with the police.  Satisfaction about ease of contact with the Metropolitan Police Service is now running at 94%. 

Joanne McCartney AM:  Mr Mayor, my question was on contact points and police stations and you have not answered that, but let me just say what I ‑‑ 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  No, I did.  I said there was always room for revision and improvement but it was early days.

Joanne McCartney AM:  That is what I am going to ask you because you made the pledge when you closed police stations that you would put in place an equivalent or better service.  That was your contact point model. 

I have the Metropolitan Police Service’s own review here into those contact points and that review says that they are not fit for purpose, that they do not offer good value for money and that their mandatory opening times fail to take into account local demand and demographic.  One of the options in that for resolving this was actually to cut the number of contact points or to make them better.  Which would you prefer? 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Obviously, what we want to do is make sure the public gets the best possible service.  Some contact points work better than others. 

Joanne McCartney AM:  Are you thinking of cutting some of them? 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I am told that the ones that seem to be most popular and successful are the ones, say, in supermarkets and areas like that.  They are working well.  Ones that are associated, for instance, with crime prevention initiatives like bicycle marking and so on are apparently working less well.  We can learn from this.

Joanne McCartney AM:  Are you planning to cut any?  That is my question. 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I cannot give you the answer at the moment to that, Joanne. 

Joanne McCartney AM:  You are not ruling out cutting some? 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  The situation is under review, but there has been a big increase in people’s general satisfaction with how they meet the Metropolitan Police Service.

The important point is what Sir Bernard [Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis] said to everybody, which is, “We will come to you”.  The police will come to you.  You report a crime or you want the police to attend to you, they will be there.  There has been a big increase in public satisfaction about the way it is working. 

Joanne McCartney AM:  Mr Mayor, I am holding you to account for your promise to put a better or equivalent service into a closed police station. 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  You have a better service because the public says it is better.  How about that? 

Joanne McCartney AM:  No, these are the contact points.  Are you thinking of cutting some of them?  Can I just get that straight answer from you?  May you cut some contact points? 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  We are reviewing them.  Some of them work better than others.  I am afraid I cannot give you the answer.  If they are no good, of course we will cut them, but I do not know.  I cannot give you the answer. 

Joanne McCartney AM:  Can I raise an issue that Jennette Arnold, my colleague, has raised with me.  She cannot be here today because she is unwell. 

This is about Waltham House police station in Kirkdale Road, Leytonstone, which is actually currently a contact point.  That police station is actually to close without reference to local stakeholders, to Jennette or to councillors.  It appears that that came about because the Metropolitan Police Service and MOPAC, which you head, were not aware that the lease was actually up until the last minute.  The Borough Commander has apologised for this oversight.  Would you apologise to the people of Leytonstone for this oversight, too? 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I am certainly sorry for some oversight and we will make sure that the people of that area do get the contact points that they need. 

However, I repeat what I have said earlier on:  There is a big increase in the number of appointments and there is a big increase in people’s satisfaction.  In the 21st century, this is increasingly the way people want to interact with the police and it seems to be working so far. 

Joanne McCartney AM:  The Borough Commander has said that there is still a need for a police station in the south of that borough and that is not likely to happen until 2020 and, in the meantime, there needs to be a contact point.  He said that.  Would you just promise me that you will write to Jennette [Jennette Arnold AM] to let her know how this situation came about and what plans there are to put a contact point in this part of the borough as soon as possible? 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Of course.  I am very happy to take that up on Jennette’s behalf.  I cannot respond in detail because I do not have the details, but I would be very happy to do that. 

Joanne McCartney AM:  Thank you.