Future of the Metropolitan Police

MQT on 2016-10-19
Session date: 
October 19, 2016
Question By: 
Unmesh Desai
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


With the announcement of the retirement of Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, what are your priorities for the future of the Metropolitan Police in London?


Answer for Future of the Metropolitan Police

Answer for Future of the Metropolitan Police

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Thank you for your question.  I am sure we would like to thank Sir Bernard for his service to London and for his dedication to keeping our city safe.  Under his leadership, among many other achievements, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has delivered a safe and secure Olympic Games and has taken a big step towards making our police service more representative of London. 


I will now work with the Home Secretary to find the best possible candidate to become the new Commissioner.  My priorities for policing in London were clearly set out in my manifesto and I remain committed to these.  These include the restoration of real neighbourhood policing, challenging hate crime, reducing violence and knife crime and working with communities to tackle the spread of extremism.  I also want to build on Sir Bernard’s work to create a police force that is representative of Londoners and has strong, positive relationships with the communities it serves. 


These priorities will be put into action by my Police and Crime Plan, which will go for formal consultation later this year before being published next year.  My Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Sophie Linden, has been meeting with community groups, individuals and stakeholders across the capital to discuss how we can best deliver the policing needs of London. 


Unmesh Desai AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor.  I have a couple of supplementary questions.  It has been reported that following the departure of the present Commissioner, the MPS’s counterterrorism functions will be moved to the National Crime Agency.  What are your views on this and the implications for the MPS?  Have you had any discussions with the Home Office regarding this report?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  This is an ongoing concern that the Commissioner and I have.  The previous Mayor had a similar concern.  We are keen to make sure that the MPS has control over this.  The expert advice that I have received is that it is important for us to have control over this.  The legislation was passed in relation to how the Government would do this.  I am quite clear, though, that counterterrorism should remain as it is: with the MPS.  It is a situation that has stood the test of time and we will lobby, if need be, to keep it that way.


Unmesh Desai AM:  If we could just move on, we await the findings of Lord Toby Harris’s review into how well‑prepared London is in terms of facing a terrorist threat.  Do you know if the Harris review has looked at interagency working between all of the different agencies, MI5 and MI6, which by all accounts seems to work well?  If not, do you feel that this needs to be looked at?  I know it is rather late in the day.  The Harris report is promised quite soon.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I met with Lord Harris last week.  He has met with a lot of people.  I cannot confirm unequivocally that he has met with MI6 but he has met with the security services, the police, counterterrorand many non‑police agents as well.  I am sure he will hear your question and make sure that he has spoken to everyone who should be spoken to. 


Unmesh Desai AM:  If not, perhaps this calls for a supplementary report.  Finally ‑ and a yes or no answer to this question will suffice, Mr Mayor ‑ local policing is part of the golden thread of intelligence that keeps London safe.  In the new Police and Crime Plan that will come out in due course, will you protect and grow this vital part of London’s policing?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Yes.


Tony Arbour AM (Chairman):  Thank you.


Florence Eshalomi AM:  Mr Mayor, we do know the pressures that the MPS and a number of other organisations are facing and it is no surprise to see that they have decided to look at testing the market in terms of their commercial venture.  They have mentioned that an outline business case on that market testing is being developed.  Have you seen that and what are your thoughts on this?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  On market ‑‑


Florence Eshalomi AM:  On Met Enterprise and the announcement that the MPS will be considering the launch of a commercial arm.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  This is one thing the Deputy Mayor is looking into, exploring revenue‑raising options.


Florence Eshalomi AM:  On that, you may be aware, Mr Mayor, the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) set up something similar a few years ago.  It had strict trading criteria in terms of ethical trading.  This was overturned by the former Mayor.  What is your view on this?  If the MPS does go down this route, do you think that the MPS should have strict, stringent trading criteria in terms of ethical trading?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Yes, we should.  There is no question that the MPS would work with inappropriate regimes.  The MPS already currently does some of this kind of work in relation to training and in doing so it works closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), using a list of approved countries where they provide that.  I am aware of the concerns with LFEPA and Sophie Linden [Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime] is well aware of the concerns in relation to making sure we have an ethical framework of working. 


Florence Eshalomi AM:  OK.  Thank you.