Future of the Metropolitan Police Service (Supplementary) [10]

Session date: 
July 6, 2016
Question By: 
Joanne McCartney
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London) & Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe (Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis)


Joanne McCartney AM:  Yes, thank you, Mr Mayor.  Perhaps I could just start by saying that this body actually did look at the issue of water cannon and on a cross-party basis we urged the previous Mayor not to go ahead.  That was after we had taken three lengthy examination sessions and looked at the evidence, so I am very pleased that that was part of your manifesto.


Answer for Future of the Metropolitan Police Service (Supplementary) [10]

Answer for Future of the Metropolitan Police Service (Supplementary) [10]

Answered By: 
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London) & Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe (Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis)

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Sorry, are you suggesting that democratically-elected politicians disagreed with their police service?


Joanne McCartney AM:  We did.  We tested the evidence with a range of experts and we came to the conclusion on a cross-party basis that there ‑‑


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  That is reassuring to hear ‑‑


Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Deputy Chair in the Chair):  Mr Mayor, Mr Mayor, I will let you have one pass.  It is not for you to ask the Members a question.


Joanne McCartney AM:  Thank you.  I want to ask about the Prevent strategy in London, Mr Mayor, and we know from extreme Islamist organisations and most recently in attacks in Paris, Orlando and Brussels that that threat level is there, and the appalling murder of Jo Cox [Member of Parliament] recently has highlighted again the extreme violence from the far right organisations as well.  In your manifesto, you pledged to lead a renewed push to tackle extremism and radicalisation in London, promoting integration of different communities.  My question really is how would you like to see the Prevent strategy change to enable you to do that?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  What is clear to me is that if you look at what happened in London in 2005, look at recent attempts to kill Londoners, destroy our way of life, look at what happened in Paris, look at what happened in Brussels, it is quite clear to me - and the evidence is there - that the people who try to destroy our way of life and commit acts of terror are ostensibly born and raised in our city, born and raised in Europe.  So the police do an incredibly hard job working with the security services and other experts on the end of the scale to keep us safe and to make sure that counter-terror measures are working.  Every day I hear stories about the great work they do.  We need to make sure though we stop young people in particular becoming radicalised in the first place, making sure they are resilient, so when a charismatic preacher of hate comes along with their nihilistic version of Islam - because we are talking ostensibly about that version of extremism causing us potential dangers now - that they are resilient.  That means things like teaching the true version of Islam, working with parents, working with school teachers, working with others to prevent young people from becoming radicalised in the first place.  I remind ourselves that last year three Londoners born and raised here, girls, children, were groomed in East London to the extent they jumped on a plane to become the brides of “jihadists” in Syria.


So it is clear to me that the model of Prevent is not working.  It needs a complete overhaul.  I have met the Home Secretary once already - I appreciate some Members may not like her advice and what she stands for and what she believes in - and we have discussed this issue and she is keen to work with me.  I think Louise Casey is doing some really important work in this area.  I am looking forward to seeing Dame Louise Casey’s - and I publicly congratulate her for her award - work as well.  I worry what is happening in our prisons.  Here we have an audience where you can address them, they are in a prison 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  I worry about what work has been done there to deradicalise, but also prevent vulnerable young men - we call prisons the universities of crime - being groomed or radicalised in prisons.  It cannot be done just by the Commissioner or by me, it has got to be a team effort.  I think it will take all of us working together to address this issue.


Joanne McCartney AM:  The Police and Crime Committee last December did look at this and we recommended some proposals.  One of them - and I know MOPAC was working on this with the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism - was that there was a role, we thought, for MOPAC and London government to be able to jointly commission some projects in London.  Is that something that you are prepared to consider and put to the Home Secretary again?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I am aware of the recommendations from the Assembly and I have looked at the thorough report into preventing extremism.  My Deputy Mayor for Policing will be continuing these conversations.  Across London, you are right, we have got great examples of projects commissioned by City Hall, by local authorities to safeguard Londoners, particularly young Londoners, from the harm they face.  I think it is really important that we carry on those conversations and the Deputy Mayor gets it and we need to make sure that we address it.


Joanne McCartney AM:  Thank you.