Neil's City Hall Diary - 11 July 2022
Welcome to this week’s update from London’s City Hall:
New Met Police Commissioner confirmed: Sir Mark Rowley
18 days left on Mayor’s ULEZ consultation
Myth busting police numbers.
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New Metropolitan Police Commissioner
Sir Mark Rowley will be the new Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.
An experienced officer, Sir Mark’s police career spans more than 30 years. He was previously Chief Constable of Surrey Police, then joined the Metropolitan Police as Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Crime responsible for counter-terrorism, gangs, organised crime, and fraud. He then left the Met to become the National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for counter terrorism policing.
I look forward to quizzing Sir Mark on his plans to lead the Met out of this low point in public trust and I sense also in officer morale. Getting a grip on both of those problems as well as crime in London will be no easy challenge, but like you I am willing him to succeed. As member of the City Hall Police and Crime Committee I’ll continue to act as a critical friend on your behalf.
In particular, I’ll be asking how he will deal with 4 key issues:
Restoring public confidence in the Met, since without this little else is possible.
Dealing with unfit officers, I discussed last week how it’s so difficult to remove bad officers and the process takes so long.
Getting a grip on violent crime, especially youth violence and violence against women.
Tackling “volume crime” such as fraud, burglary, and vehicle theft. These can seem minor but if ignored create a sense of lawlessness.
I will let you know how it goes.
On youth violence, I’ve seen first hand some great work between the local police and community groups especially around London Road in Croydon. There are no silver bullets, but I believe that work is bearing fruit and I will press for it to continue under Sir Mark.
ULEZ consultation reminder - 18 days left
Did you see Labour’s bizarre suggestion that because their ULEZ charge will cost people £3000 per year, you can just use that money to buy a newer car instead? But how can you buy a car with money they’re taking off you, which you didn’t have in the first place? You tell me.
You can watch a clip on YouTube.
You have just 18 days to object to the London Mayor’s road charging “ULEZ” plan.
Two weeks ago I described what the London Mayor’s ULEZ plan is, so a quick reminder that his consultation on expanding his ULEZ zone and future road charging closes on the 29th July.
Please sign our ULEZ petition, and also give your view directly to the Mayor in his consultation. You can also email your consultation response directly to the mayor:email@example.com which you might find is easier.
Mythbusting Police Numbers
Finally, I want to fact check a common myth that police officer numbers are drastically down and falling. You may have heard people claiming that but it’s not true.
Quite the opposite: the Met Police currently stands at the highest number of officers in its history. At the end of March they hit 34,000 officers. Not only that, they are still recruiting at around double the usual rate. By March next year they expect to reach 36,500 Met Police officers, mainly thanks to the Government’s Police Officer Uplift Programme.
Of the many problems in Sir Mark’s in-tray, the Met’s officer strength isn’t one of them.