Publications on the internet
UNCORRECTED TRANSCRIPT OF ORAL EVIDENCE
To be published as HC 560
House of commons
TAKEN BEFORE THE
Home Affairs Committee
Policing in London
TUESday 4 September 2012
Evidence heard in Public Questions 1 - 58
USE OF THE TRANSCRIPT
This is an uncorrected transcript of evidence taken in public and reported to the House. The transcript has been placed on the internet on the authority of the Committee, and copies have been made available by the Vote Office for the use of Members and others.
Any public use of, or reference to, the contents should make clear that neither witnesses nor Members have had the opportunity to correct the record. The transcript is not yet an approved formal record of these proceedings.
Members who receive this for the purpose of correcting questions addressed by them to witnesses are asked to send corrections to the Committee Assistant.
Prospective witnesses may receive this in preparation for any written or oral evidence they may in due course give to the Committee.
Taken before the Home Affairs Committee
on Tuesday 4 September 2012
Keith Vaz (Chair)
Mr James Clappison
Dr Julian Huppert
Mr David Winnick
Examination of Witness
Witness: Stephen Greenhalgh, Deputy Mayor of London for Policing and Crime, gave evidence.
Q1 Chair: Deputy Mayor, I apologise for keeping you waiting. We had two very, very interesting witnesses before you, who are both leaving office very shortly. You have arrived so I welcome you most warmly on behalf of the Committee to this first session that you are having with the Select Committee. Are you enjoying the job?
Stephen Greenhalgh: I am trying to, Chair. It is my birthday today so I am going to try to enjoy my birthday.
Chair: Is it really?
Stephen Greenhalgh: Yes. I gather you will be giving me the birthday bumps possibly later.
Chair: What a way to celebrate your birthday, with the Home Affairs Select Committee. A happy birthday indeed. Is this the job that you wanted from the Mayor or was this something that was thrust upon you?
Stephen Greenhalgh: That is a very easy question to answer. I wasn’t looking for any job from the Mayor. I was planning to step down as council leader for Hammersmith and Fulham after 16 and a half years as a councillor and six years as leader of a council where I have lived bringing up my family, and I was looking to semi-retire into obscurity and focus on a neighbourhood community budget so this was a surprise to me. I got the call from Boris the day after his re-election and it is fair to say I wasn’t expecting or lobbying for a position within his team.
Q2 Chair: We have had a very good relationship with your predecessor who was always very co-operative and helpful with the Committee, and we hope to continue that with you. Can I start with the Olympics and any role that you or the Mayor’s office had, because we are investigating Olympic security and we are producing a report in September. Did you have any inkling, either you or the Mayor, that there was going to be a problem with the shortfall of numbers, which led the Home Secretary to make her statement to the House on 11 July? Were you aware that this was a problem?
Stephen Greenhalgh: I need to set into context when I started in this position. I was called by Boris, I think, on 6 May. I was finally confirmed on 31 May, and I started work in City Hall in early June. Yes, I was party to a number of meetings where there were certainly concerns and risks, that I think have been raised by the previous witness, but we were never certain that G4S were not going to be able to fulfil the contract until that point in July. Certainly risks and issues have been raised in all the meetings I attended with the Mayor and with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and also when I met Chris Allison and other people involved in Olympic security.
Q3 Chair: Would you be meeting them on a daily or a weekly basis?
Stephen Greenhalgh: No, I would probably say it was more on a weekly basis. The Mayor was involved in a conference call on a daily basis during the Olympics but I was involved more on a week-to-week basis.
Q4 Chair: When were you aware that G4S would not be able to deliver on their contract?
Stephen Greenhalgh: At the same time as the Mayor. With absolute certainty-
Q5 Chair: We don’t know when the Mayor was informed. When was that?
Stephen Greenhalgh: Around 11 July. Although, as Sir Denis said, there were concerns and risks expressed all the way through the few meetings I had in May and in June, but with finality in July when the contingency plans kicked in.
Q6 Chair: So on the same day that the Home Secretary was informed, you were informed-
Stephen Greenhalgh: The Mayor was informed and the Mayor kindly informed me.
Q7 Chair: 11 July was the day the Mayor was informed?
Stephen Greenhalgh: Correct.
Q8 Chair: Prior to that, although there were concerns, nobody said to you-
Stephen Greenhalgh: That is not what I said. I think there were concerns, there were considered risks. If I take a local government analogy, if you will forgive me, it was very much on the risk register, but with any finality you would have to look to the contingency plan. That decision was taken on 11 July, but certainly concerns were raised before then. I think everyone that has spoken at this Committee has made that point, but with certainty on 11 July.
Q9 Chair: Yes, but prior to that, on your appointment concerns were raised and it was-
Stephen Greenhalgh: Correct. It was always an item of concern at the meetings that we had.
Q10 Chair: Is it right that in respect of that this was left very much to the Olympic Security Board? I wanted to know the role that the Mayor’s office and your office had in it.
Stephen Greenhalgh: Well, the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime had no involvement with the Olympic Security Board and the person that was leading on Olympics in the wider sense, advising the Mayor, was Neale Coleman. I did attend meetings-
Q11 Chair: Sorry, who is Neale Coleman?
Stephen Greenhalgh: Neale Coleman is specifically the mayoral adviser on the Olympics. What I discovered rapidly was that this was the largest ever security operation in our history, and certainly policing was one element of that and it is hugely complex. Admittedly, the leadership for this operation came from the Metropolitan Police Service but it was certainly a national policing operation, and also a security operation that went way beyond policing.
Q12 Chair: Indeed. In fact, it was a great success. I went, and I am sure you went, to visit the Olympic site. I went with Mr Reckless to look at security. There seemed to have been a great deal of work done by the army and the police. In fact, the only people that Mr Reckless and I met when we were out there, in terms of doing the security work, were the army. We didn’t see anyone else checking bags. Did you go regularly to the park?
Stephen Greenhalgh: I didn’t just go to the park. I used the opportunities, because one of the interesting things was that there were venues all over the place, so I visited the O2, and I visited Earl’s Court in my own borough when there wasn’t an event. You are right, the military were certainly deployed at Earl’s Court, and some of them only knew relatively recently that they were going to be deployed to do the security. I asked them when they found out that they were going to be there or not. So, yes, I made some visits to various venues but also visited the National Olympic Co-ordination Centre, as well as the specialist operations room in Lambeth that obviously provided the oversight and direction.
Q13 Chair: We noted the fact that when you appeared before the GLA Committee your Commissioner was not present on that occasion. Was that a policy decision that you made or has that now been resolved and he will appear with you in the future?
Stephen Greenhalgh: I think it is very important to understand this is where Parliament speaks, you pass a new Act and then the respective roles change. So, as I understand the legislation-certainly anyone that has a legal mind-Parliament is absolutely clear; there are these lines of accountability. The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime have the responsibility to hold the Metropolitan Police Service to account. The role of the Police and Crime Committee is equally important but different; it is to hold MOPAC, or the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, to account. It is important not to blur those lines of accountability, and I think it would be wrong for the Committee to have the expectation of having the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, the head of the uniformed service, at every monthly meeting of the Police and Crime Committee. That is not to say that he will not appear from time to time in future if it helps them discharge their primary role.
Q14 Chair: But it has been resolved now, everyone understands?
Stephen Greenhalgh: We certainly understand each other’s respective positions and we are keen to ensure that we follow the spirit of what the legislation intends.
Q15 Chair: Thank you for that clarification. Let us move on now to issues concerning policing. What is the irreducible core?
Stephen Greenhalgh: That is obviously a matter of opinion for anyone, but that is the phrase the Commissioner used.
Chair: No, the Mayor.
Stephen Greenhalgh: If I were to define it from where I stand, what you could never look to outsource or have private sector involvement would be frontline policing roles or those with warranted powers. That is a definition I would work with. Then there are areas where you could start to decide whether that is part of the irreducible core or not.
Q16 Chair: For example?
Stephen Greenhalgh: Whether custody is within the irreducible core or not, or how you deal with forensics and other things. But these are matters that, at this point in time, we do not need to go and look at, because there are certainly things outside anyone’s definition of the irreducible core that you could look to-back office reform, for instance, or how you approach the middle office.
Q17 Chair: Would the Mayor use that? It was the Mayor’s phrase, not the Commissioner’s phrase.
Stephen Greenhalgh: I have heard the Commissioner use it and I have heard the Mayor use it.
Chair: They have all been using it.
Stephen Greenhalgh: I heard the Commissioner use it first, then the Mayor used it, and I am happy to use it as well-the very irreducible core.
Q18 Chair: The bobby on the beat with a warrant cannot be privatised?
Stephen Greenhalgh: Equally PCSOs providing important frontline policing roles. I wouldn’t expect that they would be privatised. There are those where you would want to have specialist police officer deployment-in public order and other areas dealing with violent crime. You wouldn’t expect those areas to fall within the private sector.
Q19 Chair: Indeed. In respect of your budget, you noted the words of the Chief Inspector when he talked about the shortfall: £233 million in terms of the financial gap. He is now confident that you have a plan in place to ensure that something is done to deal with this. Is a plan now in place? Have you satisfied the Inspector? Are you satisfied that you will be able to deal with these quite horrendous reductions in your budget?
Stephen Greenhalgh: Yes. I don’t think he said that a plan was in place. He said we are on the way to having-
Q20 Chair: So you do not have a plan?
Stephen Greenhalgh: Plans don’t just come out of the air from left field; they develop over time. The first thing is to have the building blocks of a robust plan to take costs sensibly out of the police service in a way that does not damage its operational capabilities. I think we do have those building blocks. Obviously how the uniform looks in the future is being led by people who have that experience, and that is described as the Met Change Programme, where the Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioner are looking at how they want to see the Metropolitan Police Service in the 21st century and how that is going to change. They are coming from-
Q21 Chair: Do you have any views on that, because obviously as the Deputy Mayor you can’t just leave this to the operational side?
Stephen Greenhalgh: No, you challenge it, of course. The responsibility of the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime is both to support and also to challenge. I have come up some catchphrases. I have talked in public about the three Rs of common sense public administration. The first principle is to reduce overhead, and the overhead can be in the back office but it also can be in the front office in terms of the number of managers and supervisors that you have within a police service. All the benchmarking that people like Sir Denis have done has shown that the supervisory ratios in the Met are not in line with what you typically see in a police force, so you would want to see them closer to other forces, where it is one sergeant to five constables or even six constables, as opposed to one to four in the Met. You would also probably want to ensure you have the requisite number of very senior police officers.
Q22 Chair: Is this the second R? The first is reduce.
Stephen Greenhalgh: Reduce overhead, but overhead can be the back office-
Chair: But what is the second R?
Stephen Greenhalgh: Oh, sorry.
Chair: I am talking about your three Rs.
Stephen Greenhalgh: Let us go back to the three Rs. The second R is to release under-utilised assets.
Stephen Greenhalgh: Once you have an operating model, you can then have a real estate for the Met that serves that operating model and is more efficient, and you release those assets that you don’t need. Then the third R is the hardest R of all, which is reforming the way that you deliver the service. So it is reduce, release, reform, in simple terms.
Chair: Very, very easy to understand and very catchy.
Stephen Greenhalgh: Well, I am a simple person.
Q23 Chair: You don’t have a plan as yet to deal with the gap of £233 million, but you do have the building blocks that are going towards getting a plan. Is that right? There is no plan to date.
Stephen Greenhalgh: Let us just start off with where we were. It is fair to say that when you talk about required budget savings of £538 million, which is approximately 15% of the Met’s gross budget, nearer 21% of the net budget, the Met have already identified savings to narrow that gap. That means that you then have a remaining gap, and by my-
Chair: Of what?
Stephen Greenhalgh: My understanding when this was looked at by HMIC is that the remaining gap through to 2015-2016, although this is cumulative numbers, was nearer £360 million, and it was £260 million over two years.
Chair: So it is bigger, in fact. It is £360 million.
Stephen Greenhalgh: That is the budget gap, and then you have to translate that into the savings required, and the savings-
Q24 Chair: Sure. So how many have you identified out of the £360 million?
Stephen Greenhalgh: You have £548 million required and you have, broadly speaking, found around £200 million of the budget gap required. Then you translate that into savings. One of the problems we have, and I have discovered this in councils, is very often everyone is very good at coming up with savings. My predecessors in administration found savings, but the problem is you often find growth that outstrips the savings, so you don’t deliver net savings. The key thing is you have to find savings, that is budget reductions, of about £148 million next year. That rises to £232 million the year after and then another £100 million, and that is the savings that we need to have the plan for.
Chair: Yes, which you don’t have at the moment but you are working on it.
Stephen Greenhalgh: At the moment, I think the key thing in the building blocks is to have the Met’s operating model defined. You can begin to say we know what are the ways we can make short-term savings. For instance, you will know from your experience that you look at the top 10 procurement contracts, and they total some-
Chair: We will come on to procurement a little later.
Stephen Greenhalgh: Sure. Okay, fine.
Chair: That is all very helpful, thank you.
Q25 Michael Ellis: One of the Boris’s priorities has been to-
Chair: Mayor Johnson.
Michael Ellis: I am going to say Boris. One of Boris’s priorities has been to get more police on the streets and he has obviously succeeded in doing that, as well as crime rates down and appropriate savings and the like. But you have clearly been brought on board with a view to helping make some more savings, and you have explained your three building blocks for doing that. I want to ask you a little bit about your second R, which was the releasing of under-utilised assets. I think you told the London Assembly about releasing these under-utilised assets. I realise you have only been in place a short time, but what progress have you made on finding such under-utilised assets and identifying them and what savings have been made?
Stephen Greenhalgh: The first thing you do is work out whether there is a plan, and whether you have inherited one. I gather the MPA did have a property strategy but it is somewhat out of date, so the first thing is that we need to define and have that finalised and sharpened. But broadly speaking, talking to the property professionals and looking at it within the context of wider GLA family-to give you a picture of the Met’s estate, it used to cost £250 million a year to run the Met’s estate; that is facilities, management and property. That is down to £200 million. It is reckoned that we can certainly take £50 million of the running costs out of property, possibly even more. £200 million running the police estate is a staggering amount of money. When we looked at the total running costs of the whole GLA family, people were talking in terms of £250 million for the whole GLA family, so it seemed that the property running costs were quite high. Just the rent alone for somewhere like Empress State in my borough is about £14.5 million; with the FM contract it is nearer £22 million. These are large numbers to run buildings.
Q26 Michael Ellis: Does the Met have a property portfolio that includes properties that it rents out?
Stephen Greenhalgh: Correct. There is an investment. I went through the accounts-
Michael Ellis: It is operated like a business.
Stephen Greenhalgh: Yes, I think so, without having the capability of operating like a business. We have really good property professionals-trained surveyors, valuers, people who are good at FM contract specification-but they are not what I would describe as at the commercial end of property, yet you have £60 million-odd worth of investment properties delivering a negative return. Typically, as you know, in private property portfolios you would expect at least a 3% to 4% return or you get out of the business. Being in property investment is not core to the Metropolitan Police Service.
Q27 Michael Ellis: No. So that is one of the things.
Stephen Greenhalgh: Yes.
Q28 Michael Ellis: Anything else that you are able to tell us about?
Stephen Greenhalgh: Yes. I think we need to define the operational requirement. Clearly there is a need for a certain amount of square feet within what is a very expensive part of London-the Government secure zone-but that doesn’t mean you need this plethora of expensive buildings. We need to define that. We need to define how the public will access services. Clearly the 19th century police count is not always the right solution. It is tying up hundreds of officers that see very few members of the public-not a particularly good environment. Can we find ways of co-locating with other public services or indeed in supermarkets, libraries, in other places? That is a way of improving public access and saving the running costs.
Q29 Michael Ellis: That is very helpful. As far as these-
Stephen Greenhalgh: Am I going on too long, Chairman?
Chair: You are.
Stephen Greenhalgh: Well, thank you for that subtle hint that I am waffling.
Michael Ellis: Your answers, however, are very helpful, if I may say so. As far as these aspects are concerned, you are looking to find modernising methods in terms of-
Stephen Greenhalgh: Yes, sensible methods. You have to sweat your assets. We want to benchmark the cost of a workplace. If you are going to have a force in the future that has more police constables than it has today, many of them don’t need desk space; they need a place to shower and to have a locker. Why does the Met have 56,000 lockers but only 31,500 police officers? Why do we have nearly 60,000 lockers? That seems a bit of an overkill to me. Why do we have this amount of desk space and how do we reduce those running costs? We want the resources we do have to get into frontline policing.
Michael Ellis: Thank you. I am encouraged.
Chair: Very, very helpful.
Stephen Greenhalgh: Thank you for that line of questioning.
Chair: We are fascinated as to what might be in these 20,000 lockers and where they might be.
Stephen Greenhalgh: I will give you an audit in due course.
Q30 Mark Reckless: You referred to your role as one of support and challenge to the Met. As regards the policing plan and the budget, can I clarify whether they are being developed within the MPS or written within your office?
Stephen Greenhalgh: We set the budget, we own the property and therefore there is an element of challenge, but there is an element of support where we look to take joint leadership-get our feet in the trenches-to look at things like developing a sensible commissioning plan where you are going to look at back office reform, where you are going to look at reducing the costs on finance, HR and IT. I am staggered that we spend £103 million on IT with an outsourced contract, largely with Capgemini, little bits with BT but £100 million-odd with Capgemini, and there are still 802 in-house IT staff.
Q31 Mark Reckless: You have given us some excellent examples of where you are looking for savings. I am trying to press on the issue, given the new legislation, of the division of labour, in respect of both the budget and the policing plan, between you and the MPS.
Stephen Greenhalgh: The policing plan is a really important document. The first thing we have done, that hopefully will be published very shortly as a mayoral decision, is a clear mission statement and priorities. With regard to performance, my view is that you should set long-term performance goals that can be broken down year by year, quarter by quarter. We are saying to the Metropolitan Police Service, "We want to see you cut crime, irrespective of the stresses and strains of delivering a balanced budget and a reducing budget over time". Londoners expect to see crime reduce, and key crime types that matter most to Londoners reduced significantly, so we have set a target of a reduction of around 20% or more against seven key crime types, around violent crime and property crime. But we also-and this is what I find very important given where we are today-want to see the public’s confidence in the Metropolitan Police Service increase, and so we set a target around seeing increased public confidence. That is a very important part of challenging the Met as professionals to cut crime, increase public confidence and also take out costs sensibly. The support element is sitting side by side to come up with a sensible approach once the operational model is finally defined-the timescale is by the end of the year-to provide the back office support that is required so that the service functions properly.
Q32 Mark Reckless: You rightly said that the policing plan doesn’t just come out of the air; it is a very substantial document. I am still trying to clarify who writes that. Is that done by the MPS or is it drafted within your office?
Stephen Greenhalgh: We are responsible for the policing and crime plan.
Mark Reckless: Do you draft it?
Stephen Greenhalgh: That is what we draft, and we write that. The police produce a business plan, so there are both sides-
Mark Reckless: Thank you.
Chair: That is very helpful.
Q33 Mark Reckless: I have another area I also wish to tackle. Could you give us your latest numbers on the workforce strength of the Metropolitan Police?
Stephen Greenhalgh: Yes, I can.
Mark Reckless: I will allow you a bit of time to get that, and how you see those numbers developing by 2015.
Stephen Greenhalgh: The budgeted numbers are 31,957, but the actual numbers in August, the later ones I have, total 31,548. That is police officers. PCSOs are 2,738 and the total complement, including people who are not in uniform, comes to 53,000 today.
Q34 Mark Reckless: What do you expect those to be by 2015?
Stephen Greenhalgh: Let’s say what has been said by HMIC and put that into the context of what I have seen in the modelling.
Q35 Mark Reckless: But you are setting the plan and the budget. I would like to know your view rather than HMIC’s.
Stephen Greenhalgh: My view, Mark, is that you start off-
Chair: Sorry, could we refer to members of the Select Committee by their full names, please? I call you Deputy Mayor.
Stephen Greenhalgh: Sorry, Mr Reckless. I am sorry, Chairman.
Mr Winnick: Perhaps Boris could be referred to as the Mayor.
Stephen Greenhalgh: As the Mayor of London. Sorry to break the conventions of the House, Chair, Mr Chairman. Is it Chair, Chairman? I am just wanting to-
Chair: Order. This is a serious subject.
Stephen Greenhalgh: I am trying to answer, but I am also just trying to-
Chair: If you would answer Mr Reckless’s question.
Stephen Greenhalgh: I will answer Mr Reckless’ question. In bridging this gap, I have given you three Rs. Broadly speaking, I think you can take the biggest amount of cost out of the back office reform and that is by having smarter procurement and recognising the aspiration to take about 30% of the costs out of the back office. That probably saves you- given that costs have risen from about 17% of total staffing to nearer 30%, and overall resources about a third of the costs of the back office-maybe £300 million of that in the back office. That does not touch officer numbers at all. I have explained to you that I think that you can improve the running costs of the Met and save probably somewhere in the order of £50 million according to the professionals, maybe even more, up to £75 million, in terms of just better use of assets. That also bridges the gap without changing officer numbers.
Then you come to the question of officer numbers. Work is being done at the moment to say what is a sensible structure for the Met for the next 10, 20 years. That work hasn’t finished, so all I can say is the very worst it will be is a very small reduction. The maximum amount that has been published is 4% reduction, and from where we are today that is maybe a drop of another 500 officers, recognising that today you have about 343 that are on Olympics duties that go anyway. But I don’t think-
Q36 Chair: But in answer to Mr Reckless-I am just trying to get the answer-are there going to be fewer?
Stephen Greenhalgh: There may be fewer, but I prefer to have the granularity around what you can take out of the back office, how you can reduce the property running costs and then you get to overall numbers, but the risk is relatively small.
Chair: So there may be fewer?
Stephen Greenhalgh: I think this shouldn’t just be a numbers game. Quite clearly I think the debate should move into seeing not-we have 4,700 police officers, that cost twice the level of civilian staff, stuck in the back office and middle office.
Stephen Greenhalgh: The real question is how you get those into the front line and not soak up the cash away from the front line.
Q37 Mark Reckless: Just to check I have understood correctly-and I congratulate you on the cost-saving measures that you are delivering-you gave us a number of 31,548 for August of police numbers.
Stephen Greenhalgh: That is actual, yes.
Mark Reckless: Actual. Can I just confirm from what you said that you wouldn’t expect any reduction in that to be more than 500, so we would have at least 31,000 officers by 2015 but potentially more on the street than now? Is that the position?
Stephen Greenhalgh: Let’s be quite clear. I am here at the behest of the Mayor of London, Mayor Boris Johnson. His manifesto commitment is to maintain police numbers. I have said that I will do everything that I can see that can be done to take cost out sensibly before you look at overall policing numbers. What I have said to this Committee is that the very, very worst scenario is a drop of less than 4% in the numbers that we see today. But I will have failed-because my duty as Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime is to deliver the Mayor’s manifesto commitments, but I am finding it difficult. As I say, I haven’t landed that and can say to the Committee with absolute certainty that we can do that today.
Q38 Mark Reckless: But I am just trying to understand what you are saying, because less than 4% is, I think, 1,250 approximately down on 31,548, but then you are also saying not more than 500. I am just trying to understand-
Stephen Greenhalgh: No, Mr Reckless, the denominator is 32,000.
Mark Reckless: Because that is where it was when the Mayor was re-elected.
Stephen Greenhalgh: The 4% comes off the 32,000.
Chair: I am now totally confused. Mr Reckless, put your question again, will you?
Stephen Greenhalgh: Well, no, can I just-
Q39 Mark Reckless: What is the lowest numbers of officers you expect there to be in 2015?
Stephen Greenhalgh: The worst case, the doomsday scenario is at or around 31,000.
Mark Reckless: Thank you.
Stephen Greenhalgh: But that is not what I am looking to-
Chair: No, of course not. We are talking about the doomsday. Nobody looks forward to doomsday.
Q40 Alun Michael: You rightly said that it should not just be a numbers game, but you have sprayed a large number of numbers at us in the course of what you have said and demonstrated some command of the numbers, which I think we are struggling to keep up with. Can I check on a couple of things? You referred to in-house IT staff.
Stephen Greenhalgh: Yes, 802.
Alun Michael: Understandably, you said that you were questioning the numbers. You said 802 in-house IT staff. Are these IT staff concerned with the maintenance of the IT, not with its use?
Stephen Greenhalgh: My understanding is they have a variety of roles. The counter-terrorism bit of the Met did not want to work with the outsource provider, for instance, and therefore I think the whole range of IT services are provided in-house. There are obviously special projects. Clearly you get the basic IT services that you have, and that was costed as an original contract of around £50 million, but I think they are working on hundreds of projects-
Q41 Alun Michael: Yes, but understanding that, these are people who are concerned with the provision and the maintenance of IT as distinct from using the technology for policing purposes?
Stephen Greenhalgh: They are the maintenance. Exactly. In that sense, that is it.
Q42 Alun Michael: Secondly, you referred earlier to the importance of police community support officers and of freeing up trained police officers, but as I understand the figures, the police community support officers are being cut by 26% in the Metropolitan Police compared with a cut of about 10% across England and Wales generally. That is a much bigger cut. Is that not going to reduce the availability of staff to free up trained police officers to do the frontline duties that have been referred to?
Stephen Greenhalgh: At the moment all I understand is that there had been a hold on recruitment of PCSOs and they are recruiting for PCSOs again, but the question you are trying to point to is what will be the split between PCSOs and police officers, and we haven’t grounded those numbers.
Alun Michael: I am going on the official figures that we have been given, which is a reduction of 26% in the Met of police community support officers and a reduction of 10% across England and Wales as a whole.
Stephen Greenhalgh: I don’t have quite as much as 26%, because the budgeted number, as I understand it, for PCSOs was 3,278 and the actual number is 2,308, so it is not quite 20%, not 26%. I have said to you I don’t know what the future is going to be, but that is something that we have to ground-what is going to be the full complement of PCSOs and also the rank and number of police officers.
Q43 Alun Michael: So that we are absolutely clear, perhaps we can have an exchange between the staff of the Committee and your staff to make sure that we understand the figures correctly.
Stephen Greenhalgh: Yes.
Alun Michael: The other thing is in terms of frontline roles. I hesitate to use that term, because I think it has been badly defined in general, and it can be a lazy term, but I think it is a shorthand that everybody is using. In fact, the Met has said that it plans to have 71% of its workforce in frontline roles by 2013, which is lower than most other forces and a reduction from what was projected in 2010 of 72%. Can you explain what that really means? Why is there a reduction in the aspiration and what does it mean to you to have whatever the defined proportion is of workforce in frontline roles?
Stephen Greenhalgh: I agree about the ambiguity around frontline policing and I think the first step is to try to ensure that there is less ambiguity. It would be helpful to have some working language around what we mean by the operational policing model that defines front line. That is the first thing I would look to do.
The second thing, which I think is more helpful, is to recognise people who are likely to perform duties that are front-facing. That is typically the police constables, and I think targets around the number of police constables are going to be important as well. I know there is an aspiration to remodel the workforce so there are more police constables than the Met has ever had before, but fewer supervisors and managers, and I think that is sensible as well. But I think there is more to frontline policing than just numbers, if I may say so. We know from-
Q44 Alun Michael: I am accepting that. What I am trying to get at is what these numbers mean because, as I understand it, they are the Met’s numbers rather than your numbers.
Stephen Greenhalgh: Yes.
Alun Michael: The reduction in that aspiration between 2010 and now, what does that mean, do you think?
Stephen Greenhalgh: These percentage numbers, percentage of what to what? I think the interesting thing, just talking in terms of total numbers, is why are there 4,700 police officers that cost a lot more than civilian staff in the middle office and in the back office, and is there a reason for it? Is it operationally essential that people with warranted powers are sitting in the back office and in the front office? The first thing the Commissioner has done is say that 2,000 of those will transfer from the back and middle office and they will go into neighbourhood policing roles, so they will be part of territorial policing and therefore will be far closer to serve the public. That takes out-
Q45 Alun Michael: Is that before the work of defining roles has been done?
Stephen Greenhalgh: I think you can define-
Alun Michael: I accept what you are saying. You have a new person in your role-
Chair: Mr Michael, order. If we could bring this questioning to a conclusion.
Alun Michael: Yes. You have a new person in your role, you have a new Commissioner, so you are trying to define what you have and then how you change it. Is that correct?
Stephen Greenhalgh: Yes, but no definitional clarity is required if a police officer with warranted powers is sitting in the back office or middle office that that is a frontline role. If there is a commitment of the 4,700-and there are 1,642 in the back office-if you are going to move 2,000 of those into territorial policing and policing neighbourhoods, that clearly is moving them closer to the public, and that is an aspiration. That is something that we will be pushing.
Chair: Thank you very much, very helpful.
Q46 Nicola Blackwood: Deputy Mayor, you mentioned in response to Mr Reckless that there is ongoing work to establish the best structure for the Met going forward. An issue that the Committee has considered before is whether the Met should continue having responsibility for counter-terror, and obviously until after the Olympics it was best not to disrupt that situation. But going forward, obviously with the creation of the NCA, this is going to be a live issue. Firstly, is that being considered by the group who are looking at the structure of the Met and, secondly, what is your view?
Stephen Greenhalgh: It is very much a live issue. Obviously the Olympics haven’t finished, we are still in the midst of the Paralympics, but it is fair to say that I have asked for the views of Cressida Dick, who heads up the counter-terrorism team, and had some thoughts from that. I have also met with the Home Secretary now on a couple of occasions, and it is clear that this will be a national policy decision. I think the-
Chair: Can we just have a view on it?
Stephen Greenhalgh: Can I just attempt-at this point in time, I would say that I am agnostic on the view and that I am keen to hear the experts put the case for where it wants to be. I would say that my duty as the Mayor’s representative and head of the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime is to say, "Does this make London safer as a consequence? Does this work?" At the moment, I have not formed a final view on what the right thing will be, but it will not be my decision.
Q47 Chair: When will you form a view, if you are going to form one?
Stephen Greenhalgh: At the moment I have had a view that would indicate the risks of disaggregating this from the Metropolitan Police Service. I haven’t had the other view about why there is a great benefit of moving CT into the National Crime Agency, and I prefer to form a view when I have heard both sides of the argument.
Q48 Chair: Absolutely, and we would expect you to do so. What about royal protection? Do you think that should remain at the Met?
Stephen Greenhalgh: I don’t have a view. It is within the purview of counter-terrorism and it falls within that sort of business unit, if you like. I think there can be cases made for one way or the other.
Chair: Thank you, that is very clear.
Q49 Bridget Phillipson: Deputy Mayor, just to return briefly to the answers you gave-
Stephen Greenhalgh: Sorry. Chair, can I just say I do think, broadly speaking, that the Met is an enormous beast. It is a huge organisation with both national roles and roles on behalf of Londoners and my view is that, if anything, you want to narrow those down so there are clear lines of accountability. Thrusting more responsibilities and more duties on to an organisation as complex as the Met I don’t think will serve London and serve the Met well. We need clarity and focus, and I think the trend needs to be on what will make this a sharper police force that will serve London. One of the things that shocks me as I come into this role relatively new is the declining level of confidence in the Met as a brand, as part of the Met’s attitude surveys. Obviously we come with a vat of issues around corruption and racism, but I think it is very important that we see the Met as serving all Londoners, and that is why we need that focus on that role.
Chair: That is extremely refreshing and this is the best time to do it, of course, when the National Crime Agency is being considered at this moment. That is very refreshing.
Stephen Greenhalgh: Sorry about that.
Q50 Bridget Phillipson: If I could just return briefly to the answers you gave earlier on about the Commissioner’s attendance at the Police and Crime Committee of the London Assembly. You said it was unreasonable to expect the Commissioner to attend every month. What do you think a reasonable level of attendance might be?
Stephen Greenhalgh: It depends. As I have rehearsed and said already, I think the Police and Crime Committee have a very important duty to hold a new office to account-to make sure that we are functioning, that we are setting the right performance targets, if you like, that we are challenging the Met in the right way, but also that we are stamping our authority appropriately across London’s criminal justice system. I spent time with the chair and also the deputy chair only last week to say, "This is what we intend to do in discharging that, how we are going to do this in public. Please can you build your work programme in a way that helps you discharge your primary accountability?" I think it depends on what their work programme is, which is yet to be developed. So the answer is that I can envisage senior police officers and the Commissioner attending from time to time, but we must not blur those lines of accountability because they are very clear in the legislation.
Q51 Bridget Phillipson: Is it that you are concerned that the Commissioner may attend and answer questions that perhaps conflict with answers you are giving or your vision of policing and that might be inconvenient for you? Are you seeking to restrict-
Stephen Greenhalgh: It is nothing to with inconvenience, but I think if you have legislation that sets out people’s respective roles you do not serve London by blurring those roles and pretending that the committee suddenly has the responsibility of doing what the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime has as a primary responsibility. I think we need to ensure that we understand what we are both there to do.
Q52 Lorraine Fullbrook: Deputy Mayor, I would like to ask you about what matters most to the public-recorded levels of crime. What are the latest figures for year-on-year change in the overall levels of crime in the Metropolitan Police area?
Stephen Greenhalgh: We went through the performance measures with the Commissioner yesterday; he has a performance dashboard. I think overall offences are down slightly more than they have been historically. As this Committee will know, typically overall recorded crime reduction is around 1% relative to the rest of the country, which has seen greater levels of crime, but we are seeing slightly more than that over the last year and this is a relatively new Commissioner, but certain crime types that matter most-
Chair: Could you answer the question, please?
Stephen Greenhalgh: Sorry. We are seeing a greater reduction in crime this year than we have seen hitherto, but we are not sure whether that is a long-term trend or not. We have certainly also seen, since the introduction of things like the Trident Command, a massive drop in youth crime with a knife or with a gun, so that has been a staggering reduction of around 29% of youth violence with a knife, and I think it is equally large with a gun. So specific crime types that really do worry Londoners are coming down significantly. We, as a body, are looking to set specific targets, as I said, around violent and property crimes and see that those reduce way in excess of how the overall figures may reduce over time.
Q53 Lorraine Fullbrook: But you say that the overall recorded crime levels year on year have reduced by 1%?
Stephen Greenhalgh: No, I said historically they have reduced by 1%, but I think for the last year-they are the figures right in front of me-my understanding is it is between 2% and 3% for total recorded crime.
Lorraine Fullbrook: We have figures in front of us from December 2010 to 2011. There was a reduction of 1%.
Stephen Greenhalgh: Yes, that is what I have just said.
Lorraine Fullbrook: But in comparison to England and Wales-
Stephen Greenhalgh: That was 3%.
Lorraine Fullbrook: That was 3%.
Stephen Greenhalgh: Yes.
Q54 Lorraine Fullbrook: So why do you think there was less of a change in the Metropolitan Police area than the rest of England and Wales?
Stephen Greenhalgh: It is quite clear that you can associate that there are challenges to policing the metropolis. I think you have to accept that, but I don’t want to be an apologist for that. I think our expectation should be, and Londoners’ expectations are, that we see a drop in crime and also that we see a drop in the crime types that matter most to Londoners. But it is fair to say-I have discovered this as I have started to learn the job-that 50% of crime committed by foreign nationals is committed within the metropolis. There are huge complexities to policing London, and I think we need to bear in mind that it is not going to be easy to see the drops that we might see in other parts of the country, but that is probably part of the answer.
Lorraine Fullbrook: Thank you.
Q55 Mr Winnick: You mentioned the drop in youth crime, which obviously is to be welcomed, but would you accept there is still a great concern-and perfectly justified concern, which I am sure you share-over the number of youngsters who are the subject of knife attacks, leading in some cases unfortunately, sadly, to death and that a lot of this arises from gangs deciding that certain territories are their own and newcomers or seeming newcomers are attacked? Will more resources be put into trying to further reduce the amount of such crimes and murders that are taking place?
Stephen Greenhalgh: I couldn’t agree with you more. One of the recent events that I have been to was a peace concert in Wandsworth town hall; meeting some of the mothers who lost their children as a result of violence, and knife crime in particular, is very shocking. The level of violence with a knife and also gun violence associated with gangs remains a concern. I have visited the Trident Command, which is one of the few units I have had a chance to visit. I had a chance to visit them and understand how they approach this, and I think it is very important that that work continues. There has been some history, but it only formally focused on the gang problem back in February, and it is important that that work continues to keep London safe. More work needs to be done, I think, though, on the preventive measures but also the diversionary measures to ensure that we don’t see this problem reoccur, custodial sentences and people going back to gang violence, but equally that we stop people getting into that sort of culture. I met with representatives of the various football clubs in London, where they have had supporters who have died as a result of knife crime; they are interested in how sport or creative arts can play a role in diverting young people away from that gang culture.
Q56 Chair: Deputy Mayor, obviously when a new person arrives, the team is cleared out.
Stephen Greenhalgh: Sorry, I just lost my label, Chair, but you know who I am.
Chair: We still know who you are.
Stephen Greenhalgh: You know who I am. I can’t escape.
Chair: Your chief executive and deputy chief executive have gone, and at the moment you have a civil servant who is seconded from the Home Office. When do you hope to be in a position to have your own new chief executive?
Stephen Greenhalgh: We are reviewing the shortlist on Friday, I think, this week and are confident that we will recruit someone to take over on a permanent basis. But yes, we do have an interim chief executive at the moment from the Home Office.
Q57 Chair: In respect of procurement, it would be very helpful-you have said some very interesting things today-if the Committee had a list of the private sector contracts that you have. We have one from the Home Office as to who you give your contracts to. We were very interested in the issue of procurement-issues that we will put to the Permanent Secretary.
Stephen Greenhalgh: So you would like to have a list of the current contracts that the Met holds?
Chair: Indeed, with their value.
Stephen Greenhalgh: With their value.
Q58 Chair: Finally, in respect of your plan, I go back to where you started. Obviously you are very keen to improve the image of the Met. I think at the moment, it is bottom of all the 43 police forces in England and Wales in terms of satisfaction. You clearly want to see that improve.
Stephen Greenhalgh: Yes.
Chair: But when do you think the plan will be in place? The building blocks are in place. When can you say to this Committee, "I now have a plan to deal with the budget reductions"? Do you have a time scale? By Christmas?
Stephen Greenhalgh: The answer to the question, Chairman, is that I think we will have the granularity around the plan by the end of the year.
Chair: Deputy Mayor, it is a pleasure having you here. May we wish you the best of luck in your new position, and we hope to see you again.
Stephen Greenhalgh: Thank you very much.
Chair: Thank you.