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Met Commissioner ‘Open-Minded’ On Reorganisation

Bernard Hogan-Howe tells MPs that he will listen to arguments for handing counter-terror responsibility to NCA

The new Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police has said that he is open minded about moving some of the national responsibilities held by his Force to the new National Crime Agency.

Addressing members of the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, Bernard Hogan-Howe said it was important that all arguments were properly weighed up before acting – but emphasised that he did not hold any position either way.

He told MPs during a meeting in Westminster: “The government has announced a review after the Olympics to see if counter-terrorism should be incorporated into the National Crime Agency.

“We should work through all the arguments – and there are arguments both ways. We have to consider whether the risks of this would outweigh the benefits.”

Commissioner Hogan-Howe also stressed that there would be cost implications stemming from the move – and affordability had to be a factor during the discussions.

¬I would also like to make the best use of the money the public give us and keep the organisation fully focused on helping people and keeping them safe.¬

And he pointed out that the Met accounted for nearly a quarter of total policing in England and Wales. “If it goes well here, then it goes well for the rest of the country,” he added.

“It is worth considering the arguments. We need to work our way through each problem.”

During his question-and-answer session with the cross-party group of MPs, Commissioner Hogan-Howe accepted that there were ways where his Force could cut costs.

In particular, he said that tiers of management warranted examination and hinted that he will explore collaboration with public services across London and other police forces.

The Commissioner also highlighted that the recommendations of Tom Winsor’s first report into remuneration and conditions and the subsequent second part could save money.

And he confirmed that the recruitment of new special constables was also proving successful, adding that they would help compliment the work of regular officers and PCSOs.

Asked by Committee Chairman Keith Vaz the benchmarks on which he wanted to be judged when he reappeared before the Committee next year, Commissioner Hogan-Howe said he wanted to re-establish trust with the disaffected in London.

He concluded: “I would also like to make the best use of the money the public give us and keep the organisation fully focused on helping people and keeping them safe.”

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