MQT on 2019-03-21
Session date: 
March 21, 2019
Question By: 
Shaun Bailey
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


What difference have you made to ensure that the untapped talent in London have the opportunities to reach their potential?

Supplementary Questions: 




Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Thank you, Chairman.  London gave me and my family the opportunities we needed to fulfil our potential, a secure job for my dad that paid a decent wage, a council home giving my family security and my parents a chance to save for a place of their own, a decent state school for me and my siblings and an affordable university education, and a supportive community in which to grow up in.


My burning ambition as Mayor is to ensure that all Londoners get the opportunities they need to fulfil their potential, too, and I am extremely proud that we are already delivering tangible results to make this happen, despite opposition from Conservatives on the Assembly.  We have started building a record number of new social rent and council homes.  We have frozen TfL fares and introduced the unlimited Hopper to make commuting more affordable to millions of Londoners struggling with the cost of living.  We have supported London’s businesses to create more than 200,000 new jobs since I became Mayor.  We have presided over an increase in the London Living Wage from £9.40 an hour to £10.55 and have worked to ensure more employees pay the London Living Wage.  We have launched the 45 million Young Londoners Fund to create positive opportunities for young Londoners, already helping over 63,000 young people.  We are ensuring that from this year any Londoner who is earning less than the London Living Wage will be able to get fully funded skills training to help them get out and get better work.  We are ensuring that our £71 million European Social Fund programme will support some of the most disadvantaged Londoners to gain the skills they need to get good quality jobs.  We are using the power of culture and the creative industries to improve opportunities with my flagship projects offering chances for young people to take part in positive activities.


I have campaigned against the Government’s chaotic handling of Brexit, which poses a big threat to opportunities for the next generation.  All of our progress in London has come against the backdrop of a Government supported by the Conservatives on the Assembly that is reducing opportunities for the next generation with its failed austerity agenda.  This includes cuts to youth services, leading to youth centres closing down across our city; cuts to local councils, who have faced in real‑terms funding cut of 60%; cuts to Sure Start Centres, which give a head start in life to those who need it the most; cuts to funding for our schools and FE; cuts to funding for new affordable housing in London; and real‑term cuts to working age benefits.


It is worth pointing out that as Special Adviser for Youth and Crime in Downing Street, Assembly Member Bailey helped to implement many of these damaging cuts.


Shaun Bailey AM:  Thank you for that answer, Mr Mayor.  I would like to concentrate on the opportunity there is in the police force recruitment, retention and career advancement.  Currently, as you mentioned earlier, 26% of the police force are female ladies, but when you look at the rate of Detective Constables, it is 37%, which has been a great success for the MPS.


Are there any lessons that they can learn there about retention of staff and also putting people through the right support so that they can boost their careers?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Can I just check?  When you said “ladies”, did you mean women?


Shaun Bailey AM:  Yes, I said “women” beforehand.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  OK.  He meant women, not ladies, by the way. 


There are lessons we can learn in relation to mentoring and sponsorship for female officers and also BAME officers to get them up the progression in the MPS.  We are fortunate that the leader of the team is a woman, the current leader ‑ who is soon retiring ‑ of the National Police Chiefs’ Council is a woman, and the National Crime Agency (NCA) has a woman leader as well.


There is a role for sponsorship and mentoring.  The Our Time programme we have set up in City Hall ‑ which the MPS, the London Fire Brigade and others are now taking advantage of ‑ will help, I hope, that next generation of officers moved to Detective levels.  The direct entry scheme also is encouraging because it is leading to more women who are graduates coming into the police service.  You can now become a Detective directly into the police service rather than the normal route up.


The MPS is trying innovative ways to get more woman police officers being Detectives and having other roles and making progress in the MPS.  I want the MPS to be the best employer in the world, particularly for police officers.


Shaun Bailey AM:  Are some of those lessons being ported over to BAME communities?  There is in London a shared goal to have the police force more accurately reflect the population in London.  Is there anything specific that we are doing to persuade people from BAME backgrounds to come into the police force and then also hold onto them and retain them so that they can go up the ranks?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  The MPS is doing a lot of work to try to make sure that we recruit from London’s diverse communities.  Unfortunately, one of the things the police have had to do temporarily is to remove the requirement to be a London resident to be eligible to join the police service to try to get more police officers joining.  Obviously, if they are recruiting from an area that is less diverse, it could lead to the pipeline coming through being less diverse.


The Commissioner [Cressida Dick CBE QPM], the Deputy Commissioner [Sir Stephen House] and all those in charge of recruiting are keen to make that sure we recruit a diverse workforce ‑ that means not just more women but also more BAME recruits as well and other parts of our community not properly represented in the police service ‑ and once we have them to make sure they progress up the police service.


One of the things the MPS noticed was that often people express an interest in joining the police service and for a variety of reasons do not carry it through and do not end up joining the police service.  We are trying to see what the issue is.  Is it an issue with the test?  Is it an issue with the delay?  People have to get a job and pay the bills.  Is there an issue with the training?  They are looking at the issues by speaking to people who have not carried it through about what can be done to keep them going through.


They are trying everything they possibly can, including learning lessons from other police forces around the country.  The bad news is that there is no police force around the country that does this brilliantly and so we cannot just nick the idea from them in relation to this, but there is nothing that is not being considered by the police service to make it more diverse.


Shaun Bailey AM:  Just one last small point.  The Police Cadets has been very successful, particularly when you look at diversity.  Is there any initiative to help those young people consider a career in the police?  Have the police again looked at why that service finds it far easier to recruit from a diverse background?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Chairman, I have the pleasure of spending time with police officers every day, but last week I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon at the MPS Excellence Awards and there were great cadets there from all across London.  We have more than 5,000 Police Cadets across London.  In fact, one of the awards was to our Police Cadets and one of the recipients had now gone on to become a police officer at only 18 years old.  We are trying to encourage both in the fire service and the police service a way in, guiding people in from being a Police Cadet or a Fire Cadet first to joining their service, whether it is the fire service or the police service.  For the fire service, as a consequence of City Hall funding in my recent budget, opposed by Conservatives, we are going to increase the number of Fire Cadets across London so that every single borough will have Fire Cadets as well.  We are trying to learn the lessons to get more young people doing constructive things but also using it as a way of getting better recruitment into our police service and fire service too.


Shaun Bailey AM:  Thank you.  Thank you, Chairman.