The Metropolitan Police Authority is meeting today at 10.00am in City Hall. Unfortunately, I will not be there to report on the body language of the Chair and Commissioner and other matters of like importance (I have the dreadful misfortune of having to speak at a conference on the evolution of global security just outside Nice in the South of France – someone’s got to do it).
And a possible major row is brewing. There is a report on the agenda in the name of the Commissioner enticingly called “Update on a proposed new model of recruitment and training for police officers“. This is suggesting that the normal route by which someone can become a police officer in London would be by first being trained and serving as an – unpaid – Special Constable. This is not an uncontroversial idea – it raises all sorts of issues, such as whether it discriminates against those who are not able to give their time free and the impact on those who had been told they had been selected for training at Hendon Police College and now are being told that they will have to put themselves forward as Special Constables instead.
But the row will be about the report’s recommendation which is “That Members NOTE the contents of this report”. The report clearly raises strategic policy issues and can hardly be said to be just about “operational” decisions of the Commissioner. It should therefore have appeared as a report with recommendations for the Authority to consider and approve (or otherwise).
I am almost sorry to be missing the discussion and in particular the body language.