The future of the Metropolitan Police Service (Supplementary) [14]

Session date: 
July 6, 2017
Question By: 
Andrew Dismore
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Can I come back to the question of borough mergers, do you consider the Camden and Islington borough merger to have been a success?


Answer for The future of the Metropolitan Police Service (Supplementary) [14]

Answer for The future of the Metropolitan Police Service (Supplementary) [14]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I think the Deputy Commissioner would say - if I give him a chance - that MOPAC is considering the evidence it has received so far.  It has been mixed, if I am frank.  There have been a lot of issues that the Deputy Commissioner can talk about.


Craig Mackey QPM (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service):  We have been very honest about the challenges.  The concept - we have talked about this in some detail in the answers - is absolutely the right thing to do going forward when we look out three to four years at the challenges the MPS and London face in terms of service.


Have we got everything right with the pathfinder?  No.  We have been very honest about that.  I think and hope that that reflects well on us as an organisation.  Are there more things we need to do?  Yes.  In another venue we have talked - and you have asked me numerous questions - about the challenges of cross‑border crime between boroughs and for those two boroughs in particular - with the challenges around moped crime - and actually joining these people together to try to address some of those issues.  The challenge is we have a lot of moving parts at the moment.  We have done this against an increasing level of demand as well so we are seeing some of those stresses and strains going through.  I would say it was a work in progress. 


Andrew Dismore AM:  Thanks for that honesty.  One of the things that has arisen, for example, is the 101 calls issue that I mentioned earlier on.  That is to do with supervision and how it is organised as much as anything else. 


Craig Mackey QPM (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service):  The challenge with 101 is not at Camden and Islington.  The challenge with 101 is at Central Communications Command (CCC).


Andrew Dismore AM:  I can send you an email about that rather than waste time now.  Another issue is the lack of public engagement or panels with communities and senior officers.  That has probably got things off to a bad start. 


Another one is what I can only call an odd response to complaints and crime reports.  I have put down two written questions about that so you can see the detail.  One is to do with the theft of a motorcycle in Camden which was a bizarre response, or rather non‑response.  The other is the way that the issue of Seven Dials and drug dealing and antisocial behaviour was raised.  The MPS response seemed to be to shove it over into Westminster rather than to try to deal with it as it was. 


The other point I would like to raise, that has been raised with me, is the rather anonymous name of the merged two borough command.  It is geographically East‑North‑Central or something that people cannot identify with.  The suggestion is that we go back to Camden and Islington, which people can identify with or something similar. 


That is a lesson for other borough mergers as well.  People do like to think that they know where they live.  If somebody asked me where I lived I would not say, “In North Central”, or any other compass point of London.  I would say where I lived.


Craig Mackey QPM (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service):  Yes.  As an ex‑seafarer I would be for compass points but I am in a class of one on that.  The issue about names is a serious one and I know a lot of work has been going on.  As your colleague next to you said, what you would then call a four‑borough merger would be quite a challenge. 


Can I just go back to those issues around specific crimes?  I saw the written response to you about the moped one.  We were quite clear we got that wrong.  I personally would not put that down to a borough merger issue.  The reality is, with the volumes of calls, at times we get things wrong.  I hope we are better now at saying, “Yes, we did not get that one right.  This is what we have done about it and this is what we can do”.  We are being very realistic about the level of challenges we face doing these things and moving so many parts.  This would be easy if we were an organisation that effectively could shut down for a few months, do a bit of re‑engineering and then go out.  We are moving a live system, which is pretty unique in most other parts of organisations.  We know we will not always get it right.  We will listen, make amendments and learn.  That is what the pathfinders were about. 


Andrew Dismore AM:  Thank you.