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Suggested notes for the new Commissioner of the Met

Former Met officer Chris Hobbs suggests some action points for the new Commissioner in his first four months in the job.

Suggested notes for the new Commissioner of the Met

Date - 22nd July 2022
By - Chris Hobbs
57 Comments 57 Comments}

As Sir Mark Rowley walks up the steps to NSY on his first day just imagine that he and I, formerly a lowly DS, exchange places in the tradition of several Hollywood movies with Sir Mark doubtless somewhat puzzled to find himself pushing a shopping trolly around Lidl’s.

I calculate that Sir Mark has a period of around four months during which neither Mayor Khan nor Priti Patel would dare to orchestrate his dismissal or be prepared to accept his resignation. Thus, the new Commissioner will, temporarily, be in a strong position to make demands in respect of finances and resources.

His (my) first task will be to address his senior leadership team: Below are his notes. The address will be in two parts; the interval should enable those at the top of the Met to recover their composure after being told they will be expected to ‘take to the streets.’

Part 1

  • This meeting is not about discipline, culture etc. It is about our front- line workforce.
  • Response crews are the glue which hold the Met & London together.
  • They need to be recognised as such. The Poor Bloody Response ‘tag’ is accurate and must be lost.
  • Minimum strengths must be adhered to & will be reviewed borough by borough. They will never again become ‘optional’ or ‘advisory.’ Officer safety is paramount.
  • If necessary, leaves will be cancelled for payment if preferred, if still below; CID & senior officers will be utilised. Aid pressure on Response teams will be carefully monitored & mutual aid utilised if necessary.
  • From a date to be specified, Response officers will no longer be allocated crimes to investigate
  • All members of my SLT will undertake several patrols with Response officers over the next three months.
  • They will encourage Response officers to ‘speak their minds’ & offer suggestions.
  • All views and opinions will be collated and contribute to a review & reform of Response.
  • Officers will be consulted on any proposed reform.
  • In the longer- term, federation reps will be encouraged to act conduits re concerns raised by those on Response.
  • A much greater emphasis will be placed on welfare and well-being. This will involve supervisors (minimum strengths will also apply to supervisors -probable welfare training implications), federation reps and a 24 hour ‘hot-line’ with suitably qualified staff. Final details after consultation with all ‘front-line’ officers.
  • A further attempt will be made to reduce bureaucracy especially amongst front-line supervisory ranks. I am aware that this has been tried before and was an abysmal failure.
  • Response officers will also be consulted in respect of uniform and equipment. An option to be considered will be based on the uniform worn by City officers.

Part 2

  • An urgent feasibility study in respect of a return to borough policing and a moratorium on further police station/building closures and sales.
  • As there is some merit to BCUs in terms of flexibility; this study will also consider a return to 5 or 8 areas.
  • If the above are viable, to reduce costs, each area will be the responsibility of a chief superintendent. Each borough will be commanded by a superintendent.
  • Any return to borough policing will be accompanied by the return of Borough Intelligence Units to enable an improved intelligence flow and better targeting of offenders especially those linked to gangs. This should assist re stop & search, however there will not be a return to any form of ‘target culture.’
  • A return to borough policing will include a feasibility study in respect of re-establishing Beat Crime Desks with direct telephone/email access as opposed to 101.
  • The study will examine the NYPD precinct model, where each precinct web page is easily located and contains full contact details including phone numbers and email addresses. Consideration will be given to the restoration of CAD rooms; if that is deemed unviable, then an alternative of an ‘in hours’ borough switchboard will be explored. 101 will still exist, at least for the foreseeable future.
  • Staffing of BIU’s and Beat Crime Desks will, if possible and in the short term, include retired police officers with relevant experience. One ‘off-the-wall’ suggestion to the Home Office will include a ‘reserve officer’ status for retired officers in order that they can exercise the relevant authority necessary to carry out those roles. Pension entitlement will not be affected.
  • A review of custody suite capacity & locations with a view to reducing queuing and ‘traveling’ times.
  • A meeting will be called involving all 32 borough CEO’s and London’s mayor. It will be suggested that depending on location, new developments be they residential, retail or business, should include a planning requirement; namely that provision be made for a police office where the local police SNT would be based. The objective, over a period of time, would be to establish a network of visible SNT bases across London.
  • Additional officers need to be recruited and trained expeditiously. A review will be undertaken of recruitment, vetting and training with a view to returning, as far as possible, to the ethos, methods and principles of Hendon. The objective will be that from application to ‘passing out,’ no more than nine months will elapse. Particular attention will be paid to vetting & the option of psychometric testing will be explored.
  • After ‘passing-out’ officers will have the choice of embarking on a policing degree programme or continuation (two days a month) training based at continuation training centres with a final examination after two years. Continuation training and a completion of probation does not preclude further study for a policing degree.  I anticipate cooperation from the College of Policing.
  • A study will be undertaken as to why Met Comms has failed, amidst the tsunami of denigration, to project positive aspects of the Met and its officers. The study will include how the Met can best respond to controversy speedily but accurately. There can be few organisations where its employees, on a daily basis, perform monumental acts of kindness, bravery and compassion that goes ‘unsung.’ That must change. 
  • A further urgent study, by independent analysts known for their interest in policing, will investigate the issue of police response to calls and taskings which should be undertaken by other agencies but which have devolved to police over time. This has resulted in a dramatically reduced ability to prevent, detect and investigate crime.

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Ordered by:
leeper - Thu, 11 August 2022

If anybody wants to know about how the Met Senior Officers react to being challenged, just look up the case of Gordon Warren the Sutton PC who took them on.
It broke him in more ways than just financially.