Friday, September 04, 2009

"We are the masters now"

Another day, another gaffe by one of Boris' deputy mayors.

Kit Malthouse has claimed that he and Boris have their hands on the tiller directing the Metropolitan police. Sources say that in private, the Tories go even further and
"say they run the Met and that its management team is under their control"

The enforced resignation of Sir Ian Blair last year demonstrates that they are prepared to use their muscle to evict senior officers who don't match up to whatever their political masters want. I find this deeply disturbing - we are lucky in this country not to have a politicised police force and Sir Paul Stephenson interrupted his holiday to defend himself and his service
I do not want anyone to be under the misapprehension that the Metropolitan
police service is under the operational control of any political party

It is rumoured that he plans to make a speech opposing political control of the police and the much respected Sir Hugh Orde, president of ACPO and formerly in charge of the PSNI, threw his weight behind police independence
If people seriously think some form of elected individual is better placed to oversee policing I am interested to see the details of how that is going to work. Every professional bone in my body tells me that it is a bad idea that could drive a coach and horses through the current model of accountability

And he's right. The Tory plans for elected sheriffs are just plain daft, for that very reason. It is right that politicians hold the police to account through police committees, but I think it very unwise to allow the level of political influence - by any party - that the Conservatives seem to have proposed. If London is truly being looked at as a model of local government, then this is a deeply disturbing one.

1 comment:

Bob Piper said...

Yes, one season of The Wire tells you all you need to know about a politically controlled police force.