The Metropolitan Police Authority is in session and Deputy Mayor Kit Malthouse AM, DCiC* and SDEI**, is in the Chair.
And the SDEI was in teasing mood, like a fading diva flashing a bit of leg to raise the flagging interest of her devotees, offering a few hints of how he would like the new governance arrangements for the Metropolitan Police to change when the Coalition Government gets its way on Police Authorities.
The Coalition has said:
“We will introduce measures to make the
police more accountable through oversight
by a directly elected individual, who will be
subject to strict checks and balances by locally
And the SDEI told the Authority that during the Election campaign a document may or may not have been published which set out the views of the Mayor’s Office on how these arrangements would operate in London and he also said he would shortly be making public his detailed views when he responded to the Association of Police Authorities’ consultation on the subject (although he had told the APA Board that he disagreed with the Association’s general line and was not consulted on the content of their recent newspaper letter). He also said that he had met new Home Office Ministers to discuss it.
So what was he recommending?
The SDEI remained rather vague – presumably just in case the final outcome is not quite the same as his recommendations – and acknowledged he was not clear on the timetable.
What was clear was that he envisaged the Mayor (whoever that might be – because if the timetable extends beyond 2012, Mayor Boris Johnson is likely to have stepped down by then to pursue his national ambitions) being the “Directly Elected Individual” for London’s police (??? will this include the City of London Police???). And that the Mayor will then appoint a Board to oversee the Metropolitan Police with the scrutiny function being provided by the London Assembly.
So who would sit on the Board? The members would be Mayoral appointments (and might include some elected politicians, such as Borough Leaders or Assembly Members).
So how would this differ from the existing independent members of the MPA? Ah well, said the SDEI, these would be individuals with high levels of relevant external experience and rather than use the outmoded system of public advertisement and interviews to select members (as happens with the existing MPA independent members) it “would be possible to go out and look for particular skills”.
So that made eleven members of the MPA feel properly valued.
*DCiC = Dog Catcher in Chief
**SDEI = Shadow Directly Elected Individual