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Warning: This is archived material and may be out of date. The Metropolitan Police Authority has been replaced by the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPC).

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Minutes of a meeting of the Metropolitan Police Authority held on 28 February 2002, at Romney House, Marsham Street, London, SW1.



  • Toby Harris (Chair)
  • Anthony Arbour
  • Jennette Arnold
  • Reshard Auladin
  • Richard Barnes (Deputy Chair)
  • Cindy Butts
  • Lynne Featherstone
  • Peter Herbert (Deputy Chair)
  • Elizabeth Howlett
  • Darren Johnson
  • Jenny Jones
  • Nicholas Long
  • Cecile Lothian
  • R.David Muir
  • Eric Ollerenshaw
  • Sir John Quinton
  • Richard Sumray
  • Graham Tope
  • Abdal Ullah
  • Rachel Whittaker

MPA officers

  • Catherine Crawford (Clerk)
  • Peter Martin (Treasurer)
  • Simon Vile (Secretariat)

MPS officers

  • Sir John Stevens (Commissioner)
  • Keith Luck (Director of Resources)
  • Michael Todd (Assistant Commissioner)
  • Steve House (Deputy Assistant Commissioner)
  • Tim Godwin (Deputy Assistant Commissioner)

Approximately 40 members of the press/public and other MPA/MPS staff were also present.

Part 1

113. Apologies for absence

(Agenda item 1)

An apology for absence was received from John Biggs.

114. Minutes

(Agenda item 2)

Resolved that the minutes of the Authority meetings held on 18 and 24 January 2002 be confirmed and signed as a correct record, subject to the addition of Darren Johnson to the list of those Members present on 24 January.

115. Minutes of committees

(Agenda item 3)

The Authority received the approved or draft minutes of the following committees:

  • Finance, Planning and Best Value Committee, 17 January 2002
  • Professional Standards and Performance Monitoring Committee, 14 February 2002
  • Consultation, Diversity and Outreach Committee, 15 January 2002

116. Chair's, Members' and Clerk's updates

(Agenda item 4)

An update from the Chair and other Members was tabled at the meeting.

The Chair reported on the progress of his programme of borough visits. These were proving valuable in giving a flavour of what was going on across London. When the programme was completed an overview report would be presented to the Authority to draw together common themes and to consider the extent to which good practice in various boroughs was transferable to others. He invited any Members who wished to do so to attend the remaining visits – details of these would be re-circulated to Members.

The Chair also referred to his wish to see a more formal structure put in place to strengthen links between the MPS and the business community.

The Chair reported on the very successful MPA conference that had been held that week on Education and Street Crime and he thanked all those involved in making it successful.

Nicholas Long reported that he continued to represent the MPA on the Notting Hill Carnival Review Group. He was pleased to report that a new route recommended by the Review Group had gained acceptance from the MPS and Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea Councils. The Carnival Trust had not yet come to a view on it but carnivalists appeared satisfied with the proposed route.

R.David Muir reported that he had visited the West Midlands Police Authority.

The Clerk reported that there had been a significant level of interest shown in the vacant position of MPA Independent Member. The recruitment and selection process was continuing. She also reported that the MPA's Standards Committee had held its first meeting.

117. Commissioner's update

(Agenda item 5)

The Commissioner, Sir John Stevens, gave the Authority an update on the following developments and current issues:

Operation Safer Streets

This operation had started on 1 February and although targeted as an eight week initiative, it was now hoped to run it throughout the year in the nine boroughs concerned.

Resources had been taken from a number of units and from borough commands to focus the activities of 1,062 officers on tackling street crime using a variety of intelligence-led tactics. The result had been over 6,000 arrests in three weeks, with over 500 being for street crimes and a reduction in street crime from a 40% increase to a 17% increase. He believed that higher sentencing and the mobile phone companies' new initiative to neutralise stolen phones would have a further impact.

Much of the discussion at the meeting on this issue concerned the extent to which there was liaison with the criminal justice system to avoid blockages and to speed up the courts system, minimising the amount of police time taken in attending court hearings.

It was generally recognised that further research and data was needed to identify the pressure points and options for change. It was also agreed that the Authority would need to return at an appropriate time to the issue of the impact of this operation on other priority work areas and the balance being struck between using specialist and borough policing for this operation.

The Chair commented in conclusion that the record of 6,000 arrests was substantial and demonstrated that targeted policing could make a difference.

Volunteer Police Cadet Corp (VPCC)

The Commissioner reported that 18 borough occupational command units ran VPCC units and new units would shortly be starting in Westminster and Southwark. At December 2001 there were a total of 499 cadets in these units. 155 were from visibly ethnic minority groups and 207 were female. 228 had indicated that they intended to join the police service.

Comparison between the budgets of the MPS and the New York Police Department

Following recent misleading press coverage, the Commissioner reported that the budget for the NYPD was in fact £1.1 billion greater than that of the MPS. He agreed to copy the comparison to Members.

External inspections

The Commissioner reported that since January 2001 the MPS had been subject to 71 external reviews resulting in over 1,000 recommendations, some of which were conflicting. This was an issue that he would like to discuss further with the Authority.

The Chair agreed that the Authority did need to consider how it could keep track of the various reviews and their recommendations. He pointed out, however, that at least 800 of the recommendations had been made by Internal Audit so the extent of the purely external reviews needed to be kept in proportion.

Commander Paddick

In reply to a question from Darren Johnson, the Commissioner said that clarification would be sought from Commander Paddick on his return from leave about his reported comments.

Damilola Taylor

Cecile Lothian asked about the implications of the previous day's judgement to dismiss the case against one of the accused. The Commissioner replied that it would not be proper to comment whilst the case continued but that any lessons would be learned from the outcome of the trial.

Guantanamo Bay

Peter Herbert expressed concern about the conditions in which a British subject was being held. He was not aware of any co-operation between the MPS and its US counterparts and considered that this represented a failure by the British government to maintain human rights. The Commissioner responded that this was a matter for the US authorities.

Louis Farrakhan

Peter Herbert commented that in his view the proposed visit to England represented no public order danger. The Commissioner commented that this was a matter for the Home Secretary.

Dwayne Brooks

Peter Herbert referred to outstanding settlement issues in relation to Dwayne Brooks. He felt that it would reflect badly on the MPA and the MPS if a settlement was not reached urgently. The Commissioner said that he would arrange for Peter Herbert to be updated on the present position.

Mrs Susan Wilson

Peter Herbert commented that if Mrs Wilson and her son were successful in resisting the MPS appeal the MPS should review how and why it responds to such cases in the future. The Chair agreed that consideration should be given to how the MPS received its legal advice and the decision making process that was carried out in deciding whether or not to pursue such cases.

The Commissioner agreed that there was a need to learn lessons from this case and that this would be a matter for the Authority to discuss further.

Stop and Search

Lynne Featherstone referred to a memo from AC Veness encouraging officers to continue to use the stop and search powers granted in relation to anti-terrorism activities. AC Todd clarified that AC Veness was reminding officers that those powers were available to them and that they should record those instances in which those powers were used.

Lynne Featherstone also asked whether other assaults were being downgraded in the effort to tackle street crime. AC Todd and DAC Godwin commented that the MPS was not ignoring other types of crime but had been looking at other ways of diverting young men from criminality at the same time as managing the demands on police resources.

Letter to the Times

Anthony Arbour referred to the recent letter to the Times about the problems of public service recruitment to which the Commissioner had been a signatory. He linked this to what he described as the Commissioner's deteriorating relationship with the Home Secretary and the Home Secretary's attempts to circumscribe the role of chief officers.

The Commissioner replied that his relationship with the Home Secretary was good. He maintained the ACPO position that the independence of police officers must not be the subject of political control. Referring to the letter in the Times, he said that he had been working with the King's Fund for over a year to address the problems of public sector recruitment and the letter had been formulated long before the Home Secretary's article had appeared in the Evening Standard.

The Chair emphasised his belief in the importance of the tripartite relationship between the Home Office, the Commissioner and the MPA, with the respective roles clearly defined. He suggested to the Commissioner that it would be helpful if the Authority could be alerted when he intended to send such letters to the press, not so that any editorial control could be exercised but to ensure that Members were properly briefed for any consequential press enquiries. The Commissioner suggested that he and the Chair discuss this further.

US issues

Reshard Auladin expressed the hope that the MPS would have nothing to do with the agency being set up in the United States to spread misinformation about minority groups.

CRIS upgrading

Jennette Arnold asked for an assurance that this upgrading would not impact on the work being done on race hate and domestic violence crime. The Commissioner said that she would be given a briefing on this.

118. Policing And Performance Plan 2002/03

(Agenda item 6a)

The Authority considered a report by the Commissioner on the 2002/03 Plan.

Members expressed a number of concerns about details of the plan, including:

  • that the diversion of resources into Safer Streets was not reflected in the Plan
  • concern that the 9 Safer Streets boroughs were having targets imposed on them and more time was needed to consult with the boroughs about these
  • the 'charge to sentence' target of 71 days in priority 13 was not relevant as much of this timescale was beyond the control of the MPS
  • the use of the Public Attitude Survey in priorities 5 and 6 would be of limited value in producing measurable outcomes because of the timelag.

It was

Resolved – That the generality of the Plan be approved but that further work be carried out on the specific priorities, including those mentioned above, for a revised version to be presented to the Authority at its next meeting for approval.

119. Timetable for the 2003/04 Policing And Performance Plan

(Agenda item 6b)

The Authority considered a report on work in hand to prepare a timetable for the 2003/04 Plan.

Resolved – That the report be noted and that a report on proposals for the preparation of the 2003/04 plan be submitted to the Authority at its May meeting.

120. 2002/03 revenue budget

(Agenda item 7a and item 7b)

The Authority considered two reports on the 2002/03 revenue budget which had previously been considered by the Finance, Planning and Best Value Committee on 21 February.

Resolved –

  1. That the position on the 2002/03 budget be noted; and
  2. That a response be made to the motion passed by the GLA Assembly, as set out in the Treasurer's supplementary report.

121. Authority calendar of meetings for 2002/03

(Agenda item 8)

The Authority considered a report by the Clerk proposing dates for Authority and committee meetings in 2002/03.

The Chair proposed that as Members were due to take a fundamental look at the Authority's committee structure it would not be appropriate to agree committee dates at present.

Resolved –

  1. That the dates for full Authority meetings set out in the report be agreed;
  2. That dates for committee meetings be not agreed, pending a review of the structure, but that Members keep these dates clear in their diaries; and
  3. That following the GLA and MPA office moves, any meetings on Tuesday afternoons should start at 3.30 pm.

122. Recruitment of Visibly Ethnic Minority officers

(Agenda item 9)

The Authority considered a report by the Commissioner on the current and forecast position in regard to the recruitment of visible ethnic minority (VEM) officers.

Introducing the report, the Commissioner said that currently 12 – 14% of intakes were VEM officers so a step change would be needed to achieve the 30% target set by the Home Office. Unfortunately the numbers of VEM officers leaving the service seemed to be growing and improved retention was necessary.

In reply to Members' questions, the Commissioner said that only 18 – 19% of the workforce were women and he was seeking improvements. To this end he had very recently set up a focus/advisory group to look at positive action to encourage more women to join the service.

The Chair commented that the Authority would want to start looking at the retention issues particularly in relation to VEM officers, as well as plotting the progression of VEM officers through the ranks.

Resolved - That the report be noted.

123. MPS firearms policy, performance and training

(Agenda item 10a)

The Authority considered a report by the Commissioner outlining the MPS's firearms response.

Cecile Lothian commented that more needed to be done to inform communities after an incident about what had happened and how decisions had been taken. On a related point, Jennette Arnold would have liked to see further details of how the MPS responded to everyone involved after an incident. Cindy Butts felt that it would be helpful to know what issues had arisen from individual incidents and how they were being addressed.

R. David Muir asked about the psychotherapy element of the firearms training with particular reference to support and aftercare for the officers involved in an incident. It was agreed that he be sent a copy of the national guidelines on this for information.

Reshard Auladin commented that the firearms training course did not appear to allow sufficient time for adequate training on how to deal with someone with a mental illness and he felt that this needed to be addressed.

Resolved - That the report be noted.

124. MPS position on 'less lethal' technology and options

(Agenda item 10b)

The Authority considered a report by the Commissioner.

In introducing the report, AC Todd commented that the baton gun and the taser were the favoured options and a paper would be going to the MPS Management Board on how they might be deployed as soon as possible.

Resolved – That the report be noted and the Authority kept informed of any possible developments.

125. MPS strategy to enhance safety for users of minicabs

(Agenda item 11)

The Authority considered a report by the Commissioner on measures being taken to enhance the safety of women using minicabs.

The MPS undertook to feed back to the relevant agencies the following points which came up during the discussion:

  • concern that the licensing of drivers will take three years
  • that with regard to awareness raising about the issues, there is an opportunity to link in with the Safer Clubs initiative
  • that there ought to be some identification on minicabs to show that they are licensed.

Resolved - That the report be noted.

126. Virdi Inquiry – MPA action plan

(Agenda item 12)

The Authority considered a report by the Clerk setting out the action proposed in response to the Virdi Inquiry Report.

Resolved - That the action plan be endorsed.

127. Exclusion of the press and public

(Agenda item 13)

Resolved -

That the press and public be asked to leave the meeting during discussion of the remaining items of business because exempt information as defined in paragraphs 9 and 12 of Part I Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 is likely to be made known.

128. Confidential minutes

(Agenda item 14)

The confidential minutes of the Authority meeting held on 24 January 2002 were confirmed and signed as a correct record.

129. Interim agreement with transport for London for the proposed establishment of a Transport Operational Command Unit

(Agenda item 15)

The Authority considered a report by the Commissioner. This issue had previously been considered by the Finance, Planning and Best Value Committee on 21 February and the report before the Authority had been amended to take account of the views of that committee.

Nicholas Long commented that the following points made at the FPBV Committee had not been taken into account in the report:

  • there should be a management fee in the Interim Agreement to cover the 'below the surface' MPS costs, such as personnel and finance staff costs
  • there was no clause to allow variation or cessation of a function without full termination
  • the Interim Agreement should only last until 31 December 2002
  • para should have provision for the service of notice from the new premises in Dean Farrar Street as from July.

The MPS indicated that these points could negotiated into the agreement with TfL.

Subject to these points being taken account of, it was

Resolved – That

  1. the making of an Interim Agreement between the MPA and TfL be approved;
  2. approval be given to the recommendation of the Finance, Planning and Best Value Committee relating to the authorisation of the Clerk to affix the MPA's seal to the document and to make all other arrangements for its completion, including any minor formatting changes that may be necessary;
  3. the planned timescale for finalisation of the draft Special Services Agreement (SSA) between the parties and the intention to seek final approval for the SSA at the Authority meeting on 25 April 2002 be noted;
  4. Approval be given to the recommendation of the Finance, Planning and Best Value Committee relating to the authorisation of the Clerk to sign and approve variations ('Notices') to the Interim Agreement under delegated powers, provided that such variations do not give rise to additional financial obligations on the MPA;
  5. the proposed amendments to the Interim Agreement which are referred to in paragraph 3 of the report be noted;
  6. the Authority notes that the Agreement will also need to be approved by the TfL Board and that formal sealing of the Agreement will only take place after approval by both TfL Board and the MPA.

The meeting ended at 1.18 pm.

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