A liitle bird tells me that Sir Paul Stephenson, the Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis, is apparently impatient with – if not irritated by – some of the tone of recent meetings of the Metropolitan Police Authority. He feels that the questions he is asked by some members of the Authority are hardly strategic or are nit-picking in tone and certainly fail to acknowledge the overall good performance of the Met.
I am told he is particularly infuriateddelighted by a number of the questions tabled for tomorrow’s meeting of the Authority.
His particular favourites include:
“Can the Commissioner provide details of the Diversity Training that individual members of the MPS Management Board have received in the past 3 years.” (tabled by Chris Boothman)
“According to press reports: ‘Police are to take a more relaxed approach to children cycling on pavements after Boris Johnson secured support from the Met Commissioner. Sir Paul Stephenson is backing the Mayor’s suggested change.’ Is it true that Sir Paul is backing this move? If so: What does Sir Paul feel might be the equality implications of this policy change? Has an equality impact assessment been done on it? If so, can we see a copy? If not, will one be done before the policy change comes into effect?” (tabled by Kirsten Hearn)
(It is, of course, true that people cycling on the pavement is hazardous for frail pedestrians or those with disabilities. Although it is also true that young children would be in danger cycling on busy roads.)
But the question that has provoked the most (so far) private invective is this one relating to Sir Paul’s highly regarded Police Foundation lecture:
“In your speech to the Police Foundation you talked about the devastating impact that organised crime has on the economy, and the problems that you have in tackling this problem. I think it’s regrettable that we need to read about this in the press. Do you not think that this is an important issue which it would have been appropriate to discuss with members of the MPA at the Full Authority?” (tabled by Dee Doocey)
I am sure that, as usual, Sir Paul will behave impeccably at the meeting and that the mask of civility will not slip. But privately, he will be looking forward to this month’s White Paper that is expected to confirm the coalition Government’s plans to abolish police authorities.