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Comments

Roger Evans

The Mayor can't sack Sir Ian Blair as he is appointed by the Home Secretary. The sort of straight line accountability that New York policing enjoys is absent in London because of the many national and international responsibilities the Met discharges.

More positively, I would appoint a deputy mayor with the specific role of public protection. They would chair the MPA, review the Met budget in detail (the Mayor certainly is responsible for this) and act as a high profile voice for the ordinary bobbies on the beat and victims of crime.

You could achieve savings by combining functions with other emergency services. Why not operate police, fire and ambulances from the same garages? Why not combine the three emergency switchboards for a more comprehensive, efficient response? Combine crime prevention and fire prevention services (at the moment one group go around telling property owners to lock up, the others tell them to leave access open).

And really reduce form filling - for every pirce of data requested by the MPA, two should be dropped.

In fact I would like to see the MPA scrapped and the whole lot run directly by the Mayor. Now that would save some bureaucracy.

Mark Wadsworth

A good start yesterday, plenty more good ideas today!

Londoner

I agree that the Met police is a disgrace and any candidate prepared to take them on would get my vote. Has anyone else noticed how after several gaffs "Sir" Ian has totally disappeared off the public radar, presumably hoping people will forget about him and so not call for his dismissal?

When I recently suffered identity fraud the Met made every excuse to do nothing, despite a very good lead that I and the mail order company gave them. Thus the mail order company lost valuable goods and some crooks have got away with it, encouraging them no doubt to extend their activities. It is incidences like this which means that much of the London middle class is now totally out of sympathy with the police. We just regard them as people to be avoided because they will rarely help us to protect our property or livelihood, and might soon instead be pulling us up for not carrying our ID cards.

Cllr Nicholas Bennett

I recently went out on night patrol with the police in Bromley.

I have sent my findings to David Davis.

The key points were that most of the time they should have been on patrol, the two officers I was with, were either in a police station booking in, fingerprinting, taking DNA and photographing a man they had arrested, taking a statement of alleged domestic violence and then back at the police station filling in various computer reports. Out of the 8 hour shift only about one and a half hours was spent on patrol.

Booking in the prisoner, including all the administrative work took about 90 minutes, most of the administrative process including fingerprinting could have been done by the uniformed civilian worker, who having shown them how to do it disappeared.

Instead of two officers sitting for two hours laboriously taking down in long hand a statement from the victim, this job could have been undertaken by a civilian (possibly an ex police officer) with a laptop with a menu of questions. The two officers could have been back on patrol utilising their highly paid and trained police skills.

Most of the things that took up the officers’ time could have been done by a civilian or made by more efficient by eliminating 'double clicking' - filling in the same details on different forms & reducing the number of forms.

The Met Police is miles behind the most efficient forces in the UK.

If any conservativehome reader would like a copy of the full report please e mail me at: [email protected]

John Moss

You have to recognise that Livingstone is a wily operator and will paint himself as the architect of the Safer Neighbourhood Teams. We need to trump this and point out how it is flawed.

First, the flaws.

It is flawed because it actually means just 3 police officers for every London Council ward, which is a total of 1,890 officers out of the Met's total compliment of, what, 30,000? Add to that the three shift system and that actually means probably just one officer at any time.

Livingstone will of course argue that the 3 PCSOs make up for this, but they only work daytime, over two shifts.

So, out of 30,000 odd police officers there will be just one, plus one-and-a-half PCSOs available if it's between 6.00am and 10.00pm.

Hardly the sort of heavy presence which cleaned up New York.

Now, the alternative:

A Cop Shop in every ward. Not a police station, but a shop unit or other street level commercial building where the local team can be based. Best in a small local high street or on an estate - where Councils can be persuaded to let the police have an empty unit rent free.

A proper team of officers based in that ward. Twelve are needed. One Sergeant and three PCs - per shift. Oh and three PCSOs if you insist. Still adds up to just 7,560 of the Met's compliment, but all locally based, with three teams of two on the streets patrolling at all times, so there are enough bodies available so that when there is an incident, there is back-up locally, not at some Borough nick which might be half an hour away in heavy traffic.

We've been crying "bobbies on the beat" for years, even while we were letting the Police Federation and the Home Office cut the numbers out there. If we are serious about it, we need to be really serious and commit to re-organise policing on these lines. I'm sure the rest of the Met - all 20 odd thousand of them, can cope quite adequately with the rest of the job, especially if they stop trying to "help" people report thought crimes that they probably didn't even realise they'd been the victim of.

London Salmon

We must not fall into the trap that Norris fell into twice. The Mayor has surprisingly little control over the police, so whilst all your suggestions are good ones, if elected, a Tory Mayor could enact virtually none of them.

We talk about crime and policing because it is one of our electoral strengths, but please remember that we have to stick to the brief on this one, because it's no good basing an entire programme on things we couldn't deliver.

Clearly a candidate could argue for the Mayor to be given greater control over the police.

But again, good to see a positive stance. (Warwick Lightfoot, Victoria Borwick et al please take note)

aristeides

Thank you for your comments. I have been waiting to set out all the policies before coming back to comment myself.

Roger Evans - "The Mayor can't sack Sir Ian Blair as he is appointed by the Home Secretary."

If the Mayor accepts Ian Blair remaining in post after staking his or her victory on his removal, then this whole Mayor thing is not really worth doing. We will simply get more of Ian Blair's nonsense, so we may as well stick with Ken. Of course, if Blair won't budge, then the Mayor will have to use everything within his power (the MPA does have a lot of power and the Mayor has power over it) to get rid of him, and if, ultimately, that means refusing to meet or work with him from day one, then so be it. But a sensible Mayor cannot work with Ian Blair - he is going in the opposite direction and the issue is far too important to be left at that.

Although I have sympathy with your other suggestions, they do beg the question: if the Mayor does not have the power to sack Ian Blair, from where does he get the power to scrap the MPA?

Londoner - I could not agree more with you. However, this 'search me, guv' attitude within the police can and must be changed.

Nicholas Bennet and John Moss - "Booking in the prisoner, including all the administrative work took about 90 minutes, most of the administrative process including fingerprinting could have been done by the uniformed civilian worker, who having shown them how to do it disappeared."

and

"A proper team of officers based in that ward. Twelve are needed. One Sergeant and three PCs - per shift. Oh and three PCSOs if you insist."

I admire you for getting into the nitty gritty of this but I would seek to trust police officers to take these kind of decisions, within the overall strategy that I have outlined. Equally, I would be shy of tinkering with structures like the MPA but I would certainly not be afraid of changing the personnel. The so-called independent members of the MPA are laughably partial.

Overall, I do not believe the voters are interested in the mechanics so much as the reults.

London Salmon - As I have said, I do think this platform is entirely deliverable. In fact it would be a failure of duty for a Mayor not to do it. Regarding positivity in general, I think we have always agreed on this and it is astonishingly disheartening to see the scrap this, scrap that drum being beaten when we know it will get us nowhere electorally.

Martin (MayorWatch)

>> Although I have sympathy with your other suggestions, they do beg the question: if the Mayor does not have the power to sack Ian Blair, from where does he get the power to scrap the MPA? <<

HE doesn't nor was Roger claiming otherwise. It's really difficult not to sound rude but do you have ANY idea about the institutions and powers you're discussing?

aristeides

Martin - Roger said, "In fact I would like to see the MPA scrapped and the whole lot run directly by the Mayor." Fine, this may have been an idle aspiration but I was under the impression we were talking policies here.

I explicitly said that the candidate should use the election as a specific vote of no confidence in Sir Ian Blair. I said that he would be sacked and I have clarified how this would be done in my comments. Now you can get hung up on the technicalities and definitions but Blair would not remain long in the role. You and he will then be free to go on about institutions and powers as long as you like, as rudely as you wish.

Martin

>> I explicitly said that the candidate should use the election as a specific vote of no confidence in Sir Ian Blair. <<

Which would have no power in law...

>> I said that he would be sacked and I have clarified how this would be done in my comments. <<

You really don't get it do you? Why would a Labour Home Secretary (as there's no GE currently scheduled) remove the Met Commissioner because a Tory Mayoral candidate claimed he had a public mandate to do so?

Here's another question you won't have researched the answer to: What would be the employment law implications for removing someone without specific grounds?

How would you show there was a specific reason rather than a pre-determined decision when you had been seen and heard running around during an election promising to get rid of him?

aristeides

"Here's another question you won't have researched the answer to: What would be the employment law implications for removing someone without specific grounds?"

I concur with you entirely. I do not get it. On the one hand, I am so concerned about crime and policing that that I will do whatever it takes - no matter what the consequences in employment law - to effect Sir Ian Blair's leaving office.

On the other hand, your attitude seems to be: 'We will fight them on the beaches,
provided that this does not contravene local by-laws and subject to checking when the tide's out.'

We have different approaches; it is not the end of the world but there we are.

hope

Great article. Roger, it's an admission of hopeless failure to say "the Mayor can't sack Iain Blair and therefore this policy is a non-starter". Have you ever heard of vision? If we win the mayoralty on a platform of "Get Rid Of Blair", refuse to work with him, refuse to be seen with him and use every ounce of energy available to us then Blair will be sacked -- as I hope every London Tory recognises is a sine qua non for an improved Met service. Perhaps if our assembly members had coalesced around a few strong vision policies like this one we might have started a more effective anti-Livingstone movement by now.

Graeme Archer

Aristeides is SO CORRECT about this and the comments about "you can't do that" are SO WRONG. I don't understand what brings people into politics if their "vision" is simply to be better administrators of the laws written by our political enemies. We'll win the mayoralty when we've got a vision so compelling and unifying that most Londoners will want to subscribe to it, regardless of their traditional allegiance. Ian Blair is a disgrace to London and to the Met force and his removal will be managed in exactly the same way that we remove failed cabinet members: public hostility, political tactics and media agreement.

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