Transparency in the Metropolitan Police Service

Meeting: 
Plenary on 2014-12-09
Session date: 
December 9, 2014
Reference: 
2014/4965
Question By: 
Caroline Pidgeon
Organisation: 
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
Category: 

Question

Should the Met Police promote trust through transparency by having a compulsory public register of interests including membership of organisations such as the freemasons?

Answer

Answer for Transparency in the Metropolitan Police Service

Answer for Transparency in the Metropolitan Police Service

Answered By: 
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe QPM (Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis):  As it happens, I was surprised in a way that we had received this question, because the freemason issue had sort of gone away a little over the years.  In Merseyside we had such a register and people were expected to declare if they were a freemason.  I am told that the European Courts have thought that this is a conflict with basic human rights, therefore there now seems a bit of a dilemma, however I would be certainly happy to take it away and consider it further.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  The European Court is riddled with freemasons!

 

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe QPM (Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis):  The issue that has to be considered of course is: what is the reason why you would distinguish this organisation from any other?  For me as a police officer the secrecy of membership is a concern.  I think police officers should be transparent about their associations, nothing to hide, then why not mention it?  If you do it for the police, you have to do it for other branches of the criminal justice system, and I understand that not everyone has the same view, however my view would be that you ought to be open about your associations.  It is not the fact of being a member of the organisation; it is the lack of transparency about that.  However I am told there is a legal dilemma and I have told you where I stand.