Threat of terrorism in London (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
July 15, 2015
Question By: 
Joanne McCartney
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

Joanne McCartney AM:  Tony [Tony Arbour AM] has asked the question that is next on the order paper as well, which is mine, and so if I can go straight into my supplementary, it would be helpful.  Mr Mayor, your Deputy Mayor has previously said that he thought the Home Secretary is not giving sufficient to London’s policing.  You said that you did get a little bit more, but the Commissioner [Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe QPM, Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis] actually has said, “We were pleased that we received some help, but we did ask for far more”.  He has previously said that he needs extra funding in the tens of millions.  How far are you getting with your case for that tens of millions of extra funding that the Commissioner says he needs to keep London safe?

Answer

Answer for Threat of terrorism in London (Supplementary) [1]

Answer for Threat of terrorism in London (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  We did get £20 million, from memory.

Joanne McCartney AM:  It was £13.9 million.  You asked for £20 million but the Commissioner put it at tens of millions more.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I am sorry.  We initially put in for £30 million.  There is always a negotiation between us and the Government about funding for the police and particularly for counterterrorism.  My information at present is that obviously Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, who is responsible for counterterrorism, feels that he has enough to keep London safe at the moment, but we have to make sure that in the current spending round, as we go forward to the CSR in the autumn, we keep that pressure very much on.

Joanne McCartney AM:  Thank you.  We have also had Wimbledon over the last couple of weeks and I do know from the MPS that extra security was put in place there because of the threat from Tunisia.  However, obviously, across the summer we do have increased tourist numbers and we particularly, for example, have the Rugby World Cup taking place this summer.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  We do.

Joanne McCartney AM:  Is it the case that we do actually need some extra short-term funding from the Home Office to recognise London’s role in keeping people safe during those events?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I do not think it is so much a question of short-term funding, Joanne.  The issue is more to do with making sure that in the CSR we do not see substantial reductions in funding.  That is how the position is being presented to me at the moment.

Joanne McCartney AM:  The MPS has recently said that it wants to increase its overseas counterterrorism deployment.  I believe there are about 30 MPS police officers based overseas and assisting local law enforcements in countries that do have issues.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Yes.

Joanne McCartney AM:  It wants to, I believe, almost double that.  Are you making the case for that to the Government as well?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  There are 23 in Tunisia, from memory, and it is an amazing feature of the MPS that it does everything around the world.  Yes, one of the arguments we make to the Government is that because the MPS has this national and indeed international role, it has to be properly funded, and you cannot just compute the bill on the basis of what London policing needs.  It is far more than policing London’s 33 boroughs.

Joanne McCartney AM:  Thank you.  We will return to this subject but there has been one subject that has popped up this morning and that is that the Home Secretary has now said she will make a statement to Parliament at 1.30pm about water cannon.  Has she informed you of her decision yet?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I am happy to tell you that I am going to have a conversation with the Home Secretary very shortly and if I am released from this meeting ‑‑

Darren Johnson AM:  Phone her!

Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  Phone a friend! 

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Through you, Jennette, if that is what you would like, I am more than happy to do that but I do not know ‑‑

Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  We will allow you to phone a friend!  Thank you. 

Joanne McCartney AM:   Can I take it that you have no idea what the Home Secretary is going to tell you yet of her decision?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I am sure whatever she says will be very welcome and very interesting and I will see what she has to say, but the position that London takes - and that I take - on her decision is unlikely to be substantially changed.  We will have to see what she says.

Joanne McCartney AM:   Yes.  Mr Mayor, of course you have been at the forefront of pushing for water cannon against the wishes of the majority of this Assembly.  We hope that she will say no this afternoon.  Thank you.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I can tell you since you have raised the subject that I do not know what the Home Secretary is about to announce but, as far as I am concerned, it will remain the case that water cannon have been requested by the MPS.  Both the Prime Minister and I decided that was something that had to be taken very seriously that, therefore, we have those devices in reserve.  The police will continue to train on them and, in the vanishingly unlikely event of there being such serious disorder as to require their deployment, I have no doubt a licence would be readily procured.