The future of the Metropolitan Police Service (Supplementary) [12]

Session date: 
July 6, 2017
Question By: 
Shaun Bailey
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


I would like to ask the Mayor first: what is your office going to do to address that problem and turn it around?


Answer for The future of the Metropolitan Police Service (Supplementary) [12]

Answer for The future of the Metropolitan Police Service (Supplementary) [12]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  It is a good question.  TfL makes a contribution towards the BTP funds and has some control - with a small C - in relation to where they go.  However, there is a Chief Constable for the BTP and I have less - I use the word carefully - leverage over him than I do over the MPS.  It is a conversation we have all the time.  You will appreciate I have to respect the operational pressures that the BTP has.  It is swings and roundabouts.  Sometimes we benefit from this and sometimes we do not.  The Deputy Commissioner referred to the heroism of the BTP officer in the recent terror attack.  Some would argue it was outside a station and not really a public transport issue and so why did we get the benefit of this heroic BTP officer?  It is swings and roundabouts.  However, it is a fair point and we keep it under review all the time.


Shaun Bailey AM:  I wondered.  As most Londoners will be aware, it is one part that is funded and the money is there.  Is it time to ask for a rebate or time to push for better recruitment?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  We have to be careful.  There are always areas we can improve in regard to the relationship.  You will be aware that Lord Toby Harris used the word ‘merger’ of the City of London, BTP and MPS.  It was very controversial for reasons that you will appreciate.  My experience over the last 12 to 13 months is that the relationship is not perfect.  We could look into better accountability.


I am nervous talking about rebates because it is swings and roundabouts, Shaun.  We get benefits sometimes.  Let me give you an example.  There have been three terror attacks in London.  If you are a taxpayer in other parts of the country contributing towards the BTP you could legitimately ask why our BTP are officers going to terror attacks in London, as they did. 


Craig Mackey QPM (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service):  If I may jump in on that, if I was Chief Constable Crowther [OBE, Chief Constable, BTP] sitting here I would come back to you and say, “I am running a national system”.  The attack in Manchester was a huge draw on BTP resources in the same way as everyone else.  As the Mayor said, if we were here as an accountability body - let us say for the West Midlands - we would be saying, “Why has everyone gone to London and to Manchester?”  It is a reality of flex and demand on a national model. 


To reassure you though, one of the great collaborations that is never talked about enough in London is the collaboration between those three services.  We run something called Operation Benbow - we have to have a name for everything in policing - and that is how we bring the three commands together and just work when London needs us.  As the Mayor said, we all benefit from that.


Shaun Bailey AM:  Thank you for that.  To make a plea on behalf of Londoners, it is obviously a significant sum of money and we need to do something about them giving those officers because the cut of 10% every year is reflected in our budget.  We could be, of course, putting that money somewhere else in policing.  Therefore, if I could make a plea on behalf of Londoners to try to resolve those few missing officers we have and to put them back into the system.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Chair, through you, can I reassure the Assembly Members that the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime is listening to this conversation.  I will take away and reflect on what you have said to see how we can give you reassurance.  That is not unreasonable.