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'Cumulative' problems at the Met go back six years, GLA told

Performance problems at the Met were being raised over a six year period, politicians have been told.

The Metropolitan Police’s senior leadership and political lead have been given a rough ride over performance failures.

Greater London Assembly members questioned why issues such as crime recording had deteriorated to the extent that the force is facing intervention by HM Inspectorate.

The Assembly’s police and crime panel demanded answers over why the Met has 14 areas of concern.

Deputy Mayor for Policing, Sophie Linden, revealed the Met has yet to receive the full report and only has the letter informing them of HMI’s decision.

She had been “disappointed but not surprised” by the intervention.

“Many if not all of the issues raised in the letter are ones we were already aware of,” she said.

She added the Met and the Mayor’s Office for Police and Crime welcomed the intervention with its “challenge and support”.

The Deputy Mayor revealed the Met’s senior team will meet with HMI Chief Inspector Andy Cooke next week.

She was then questioned over time lines that could show how long the force had been deteriorating.

Ms Linden said MOPAC had challenged areas of performance for six years, MOPAC claimed.

Not meeting emergency response targets was “not a surprise”.

She said: “HMIC are quite right to pick up on that as an area of response.”

Part of the problem was that the force had made improvements and then fallen back in some areas. ASB data had been given a clean bill of health in 2019 but had now fallen back.

“These concerns haven’t all been there since 2016. Now they’ve come back and things have changed around ASB,” she said.   

Committee Chair Susan Hall (Con) questioned the decision to give the Met’s Commissioner extra time in the job before she was sacked.

She asked: “Why on earth did you ask for Cressida Dick’s contract to be renewed?”

Sophie Linden said the intervention was for complex reasons: “HMIC has been clear in the letter it’s not just the performance that put the force into engage. There were other issues.”

She added: “These [contract renewal] are Home Secretary decisions and ones which obviously that are discussed with us. There have been a number of high profile cases that have been raised since.”

“This is not just about one person. The Mayor has been very clear about this. This is about all of the Met police but it is also about having the ability to bring in a reforming commissioner.”

There was also a rebuttal: the force had also tackled terrorism and reduced violence.

And one in seven forces now in the Engage process.

“This is not just an issue with the Met, there are issues with national policing too,” she said.

The force’s assessment is that a cumulative set of performance issues led to the Inspectorate intervening at the Met.

Assistant Commissioner for Met Operations, Louisa Rolfe, was also disappointed.

“There has been significant progress on some of the issues mentioned. We take very seriously the opportunity to work the College of Policing, HMIC and with MOPAC,” she said.

“We are determined to be a Police Service that Londoners should be proud of.”

Assembly member Len Duvall (Labour) wanted clarity: “What’s the think of why on some these issues there has been that deterioration?”

With the full report unavailable, ACC Rolfe said the force was still making outline assessments including whether extra external scrutiny was needed.

“We want to seek to understand and are already taking steps,” she said.

She rejected claims that the Met’s problems were due to arrogance or a refusal to accept external advice or challenge.

She said: “This is a time for us to be humble. For us to listen. For us to grasp the opportunities of help. We all need to check ourselves to ensure our personal reaction in responding to that is to do it with our eyes and ears open.”

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