BHH has apparently predicted that the Met can do something better than any other public sector organisation has managed to do to date.
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has predicted the force’s deployment of mobile technology will buck the trend of failing public sector IT projects and deliver benefits both to victims of crime and officers.
All frontline officers are supposedly to be issued with data-connected tablets on which they’ll be able to record details of crimes, photograph evidence and issue crime reference numbers without needing to return to base.
Now don’t laugh, but he has combined ‘the best Police leaders’ with ‘the best IT leaders to oversee the project. No danger of anything going wrong there then. BHH says that he “is confident that our investment will pay off”.
At the same time he sought to reassure that an increase in dependence on IT will not be used as an excuse to reduce officer numbers, despite the recently announced further budget cuts.
All I can say is that they’d better be buying TonkaPads because if something can be broken, Met cops will break it, lose it, run it over or drop it down the toilet.
I can see the need to do something with IT because all the Police Buildings in London seem to be pubs or very expensive flats/apartments. now. I dread to think where locker space is provided, and I’m pretty certain the Snooker Rooms went years ago along with the Plan Drawer’s Office. No space for writing Crime Reports up, maybe this is all part of a Master Plan to reduce crime, make it more difficult to record. Of course the IT on these tablets will be faultless with 100% reliability meaning no down time.
It’s a common sight in DeadBadgerShire to Police Vehicles parked up in a layby with the single-crewed officer tapping away at a keyboard within. Saves on fuel and wear n tear as well reducing trips back to the Station.
Don’t get me wrong, I love technology, gadgets (not Gadget) but gadgets and gizzmos have to be part of the solution in an area like Policing, not the whole solution. Is it only me that thinks that chatting to a crusty PC (are there any left?) or a sweaty DS when you go back to record the crime can sometimes have a positive outcome in relation to the crime you’re recording. Not always but sometimes. Gods knows, clues are few and far between, anything helps. Hitting SEND at the end of keying it in and giving the victim the corresponding crime number seems a little bit clinical and unsatisfactory to me, but I’m also aware that with dwindling numbers, and far worse to come, extravagances like chatting to the Crime Desk DS are on the way out, or probably already gone in some Forces.
Anyway it’s all going tom paid out of the proceeds of New Scotland Yard being sold off, so it can’t be all bad, can it?
Well, that’s giving in a taking sort of way really. I must thank @TanyaSmith67 for bringing this matter to my attention, it had completely passed me by. I’ll stop writing about it just as soon as Boris and co let me, honest I will.
Not content with selling off huge chunks of the Met’ s Estate (and I know there are those of you out there who aren’t quite as outraged as us at Angry Towers) but Boris’ deputy, Steve Greenhalgh, has found himself another controversy to get involved in.
Being in charge of the MOPAC/MPS estates strategy, Greenhalgh has endorsed, if not decided upon,.the sale of certain properties within the estate deemed ‘Surplus to Requirements’. Last week, a mayoral press release said Greenhalgh had “intervened” to stop the sale of the Raynesfield homes in Raynes Park, “I was not happy with how they had been treated,” said Greenhalgh of Raynesfield’s residents. “I was not prepared to see key workerslike nurses, carers and teachers forced to move out of their homes.” In August it had been reported that “Nurses and school workers facing eviction from their police-owned homes say they are being “cleansed” from the borough due to a lack of affordable housing.
Key workers living at Raynesfield in Raynes Park and 30 Griffiths Road in Wimbledon will be evicted from their flats by the end of the year after the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) sold the land. The sale forms part of Boris Johnson’s long-term estate strategy to sell off properties and invest profits back into frontline policing.
Residents of the two estates, mostly on low salaries, will now have to leave the borough because they neither earn enough to rent privately nor meet criteria to qualify for social housing.”
Well, I have to say that I was completely unaware that the Met owned residential properties that were rented out to others, I was only aware of the Section Houses and Married Quarters. Presumably these are ex Married Quarters that have been vacated by the officers, under whatever circumstances, and put onto the rental market. What do other Forces do?
The same thing happened in Hammersmith, where MOPAC owns a block of flats called Broadmead. Greenhalgh said he had been “very shocked” to learn that Broadmead’s residents might be turfed out and that he’d discovered this “all because” Tory councillors in his old borough had brought the tenants’ situation to his notice.
So I’m beginning to see the pattern now, Greenhalgh decides to sell off the Met-owned residential properties, that are now managed by a Housing Association and occupied by key workers or others on low income. Then, when he hears that they residents are to be displaced (whatever did he think was going to happen to them?) he steps in top prevent it and everybody hails him as a hero.
Apparently Deputy Mayor Greenhalgh still wants those homes sold, but says this will now only happen if the new owner can offer existing tenants “similar or better terms” than they presently enjoy, ensuring that they can afford to stay, rather than selling the sites vacant on the open market for as much money as possible.
So what is he playing at? I seen to recall that his political career has been dogged by controversy of one kind or another, and nothing seems to have changed. He now seems to be quite happy to put people in fear of being evicted from their reasonably priced homes, then mounting his blue stallion and charging in to save them from the fate that he himself had instigated.
Or is that just the jaundiced view of a cynical duffer?
Just as the ink had dried on my last post, and my aged quill was cleaned and dry, one of my erstwhile colleagues enlightened me to something else not quite right with the Met’s Property Portfolio. [Santa, please send new quill and ink for Crimbo, much obliged, I have been good].
According to that unmissable publication Mayor Watch the Met (or Boris) has seemingly blundered again. Bought NSY for £120 million (if memory serves me well), put it up for sale at £250 million and finally sold it to an offshore investor from UAE for £370 million.
So far so good, although I suspect there may be some Capital Gains Tax liability there somewhere.
Proceeds from the sale will kick-start a major investment opportunity to secure the future of the Met Police, with the funds being used to kit out officers across London with mobile technology such as tablets, smartphones and body cameras, enabling them to spend more time out on the streets. It will also allow much-needed investment in the remaining estate along with modern ICT infrastructure and new software platforms.
However the Met are relocating to Curtis Green building on Embankment but have already identified the need for extension works, they are planning the construction of a new rear extension to help create “525 work spaces” for officers and civilian support workers.
At the same time MOPAC has authorised a revamp of Holborn police station to accommodate the Met’s legal department and the refurbishment of three floors at its Marlowe House office block to create a further 616 work stations.
However a briefing document drawn up for Stephen Greenhalgh, London’s deputy mayor for policing and crime, warns that the combined space created by the projects may be insufficient to house all of the Met’s HQ functions.
The document states: “One of the original planning assumptions for the Mayor Buildings Estates Strategy and the exit of NSY was that all teams exiting NSY will be relocated within the remainder of the MOPAC estate.
“Whilst this position can be achieved in terms of available floor space, certain facilities would require further investment to maintain operational performance.”
The document continues:
“Recent developments have necessitated the need to look at the accommodation requirements of specific teams again, and occupational arrangements of key partner agencies.
“A growth bid for the specific team will require the provision of further accommodation. Studies are underway to model whether the existing MOPAC estate can meet these requirements or whether third party accommodation is needed.”
So, forward planning not high on MOPAC’s skillset then. Green party AM Baroness Jenny Jones commented: “It does seem a bit ridiculous that the Mayor in his rush to sell off police buildings has left the Met with a headquarters that is too small.
Curtis Green, or Scotland Yard as it will soon be known, may not even be operational until October 2016.
And then, hold your breath dear reader, there’s the Met’s other White Elephant, Empress State Building which presently provides nearly 4,000 desk spaces for the Met.
This one is only leased, but is also on ‘the list’.
If I may quote from an article in the Grauniad last year…….
“Anyone as enmeshed in London government as Boris Johnson’s policing deputy Stephen Greenhalgh makes connections in overlapping fields. These can be valuable but also trigger unhelpful suspicions. Greenhalgh’s energetic history as a Conservative politician and company director illustrates how such problems might arise.
His present job as head of MOPAC – the mayor’s office for policing and crime – involves lots of complex maths about where Metropolitan Police Service personnel should be based. The objective is to save money in the context of big pressures on budgets. Several police stations are to be sold, along with New Scotland Yard, the Met’s famous HQ since 1967. And then there’s the Empress State Building (ESB), a 31-floor, 117 metre tall tower, which presently provides nearly 4,000 desk spaces for the Met.
The ESB is leased by MOPAC on the Met’s behalf from the property developer Capital and Counties (Capco), which bought a 50% share of it in 2008 and announced in May that it had bought the other half. The building’s location is significant. It stands within the 77 acres of prime west London land Capco intends to clear and replace with four high-priced urban “villages”, destroying in the process the historic Earls Court exhibition centre and the homes of around 2000 people, most of whom would sooner be left alone despite a promised offer of replacement dwellings nearby, if their responses to the council’s consultation on the issue are any guide.
This widely-opposed redevelopment, known as the Earls Court Project, is dear to Greenhalgh’s heart. Most of the territory it covers lies within the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (H&F), which Greenhalgh led for six years from May 2006. Greenhalgh championed the scheme when at H&F. Shortly before leaving for his new job at City Hall described it to the Guardian as “the best deal in the history of redevelopment in London.” Johnson too is a big fan, hailing it as a “landmark project” in one of his London Plan Opportunity Areas.”
My apologies to the Grauniad for such a large quote, but it seemed fairer and more effective than paraphrasing it.
Is it just cynical, suspicious me, or is there a potential conflict of interests here?
It certainly does nothing to help resolve the Met’s almost critical shortage of desk space.
Never mind, it will sort itself out and all become clear in the fullness of time. It’s probably just me.
Secretary of State for Communities
Road Barnes SW13 0NG
Homes (Central London) Limited
Road London N6 4NW
6 Ripple Road,
74 High Street
1-9 Seymour Street London
Seymour Street Nominees Limited &
Berkeley Street Nominees Limited
c/o The Portman Estate
Mixed use redevelopment
22 Tabor Grove
26 Rosslyn Hill
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Hill London NW3 3NN
Gate Properties Limited
Road London SE26 4RN
1516 London Rd.
Now my basic abacus makes this just shy of £124 million.
Is is worth it? Is that really enough to make a difference. Where on earth are all your lockers and kit going going to be? Back room as Tesco (other supermarkets are available)?
In addition to this there are also plans to sell the following in the next year or so;
Chelsea Police Station
A 5 metre wide strip of land on Isle of Dogs (god knows what that is)
Residential Property Treetops, 4A The Drive, George Road, Coombe Hill, Kingston, Surrey. I have no idea who used to live here, but no.2 sold in 2009 for £3.75 MILLION, so not a PC I’m guessing.
Residential Property 17 Canonbury Park North.
Buckingham Gate, who could forget Buckingham Gate?? I don’t know if the County Forces have the equivalent, a dedicated Feeding Centre for those on Aid to Central London etc. A fantastic building with great atmosphere, catering staff would always greet you with a smile and a cheery comment, no matter what the time of day, although they did sometimes give us curry for breakfast, but who cared? A great place to swap your Beat Duty Helmet for somebody else’s if yours was a bit tired (allegedly) and those a little older than me inform me that it was the building in which the official enquiry into the sinking of the Titanic was held. So not short on history either, but let’s just sell it off.
So there you go Londoners, a little bit more history goes down the pan, and will it REALLY help. It sounds like a lot of money to us, but set against the operating budget for the MPS is it?
Boris is a politician, pure and simple. He has already politicised the agenda, and quite possibly the actuality, of policing in London in his guise of ‘PCC’ for London.
Now he wants to take control of the CPS and Courts system within London.
Lord Boris of Londinium, I can hardly begin to list the different ways in which that would simply be WRONG, not just a bad idea, just WRONG.
The last time I looked at a map of of the world, London was in the United Kingdom and not North Korea. What kind of legal system would this so-called civilised country have if one person (and a few minions) had control of the entire judicial system within the M25 boundary?
Do I detect the sound of an Apocalyptic Horseman whinnying in the background?
I would like to think that Boris can’t be serious, but I fear that he may be.
Is Anarchy breaking out within MOPAC and/or the Met?
So many questions for a Monday morning, and I am aware that I am far from being the only person asking them.
BoJo’s Policing SPAD has been suspiciously quiet since his notorious and ill-judged Four Horseman of the Apocalypse Tweet (sorry Mr Gibbs, I won’t forget it and why should I?), but recently we have seen two absolute crackers come out of BoJo Towers and/or BHH.
Firstly, in a fine display of unilateralism, the likes of which I have seldom seen, we have Boris announcing the purchase of two Water Cannon for the people of London. They still haven’t been signed off by Cruella as far as I know, but you Londoners can have them anyway. As a major strategic resource it is unthinkable that BoJo’s SPAD will not have been involved in that decision.
Now today we have the ground-breaking announcement that recruitment of Constables into the Met will be open only to the residents of Greater London (within the M25 basically).
Now this causes me several problems really.
1, Why only Constables? If this is really such a good idea why not apply it to ALL ranks.
2. The Metropolitan Police Farce proudly declares itself as an Equal Opportunities Employer. Really? Bernie Hogan-Who has previously admitted that his in favour of Positive Discrimination, but this just takes the argument to a whole new level. Can the genuine needs of the Met be realised from recruiting solely from the Greater London Area. Neither Bernie the Ostrich nor BoJo are Londoners themselves I believe. What is it that Londoners bring to the party that is so important at Constable level (absolutely no offence intended)
Boris says “Every police officer is always and will always be selected on merit, but there is more than enough talent in this great city to give the Met all the devoted and skilled new recruits they need to go on keeping Londoners safe.” Really? Then the Met should have never suffered any recruitment problems and all the excellent members from outside the M25 were really never needed then?
3. The policy change will not affect serving officers, existing MPS police staff, members of the Special Constabulary, or existing police officers seeking to transfer from other UK forces. Not that I have a problem with transfers in from another Force, but why are they an exception? Is this an indication that the policy might not actually be lawful? Conservatives are, after all, renowned for their unlawful policies.
4. And this really is my biggest problem with it. The Metropolitan Police Service intends to recruit 5,000 new Police Constables before 2016. Boris Johnson wants to keep police numbers around 32,000. In March 2013 there were 30,398 Constables in the Met. This is approx 3,000 fewer than March 2010. The Home Office have ‘helpfully’ changed the format for their twice-yearly Policing Strength stats and no longer include the breakdown by rank (oh, I wonder why), all I can tell you is that by September 2013 the TOTAL strength of the Met was down to 30,631. Under it’s plans for dealing with ‘Austerity’ the MPS has a plan in place to reduce its TOTAL strength to 31,960 by March 2015.
So, I come back to the point I have made several times before, and the the Met, MOPAC and the government have taken absolutely no notice; if the 2015 target is 31,960, why are we now at 30,631, a level lower than is targeted. Why are senior Police Officers and politicians, once again, playing games with the figures/ They did it with #CrimeStats and now they’re doing it with Policing Strength. London presumably needs a certain number of Poilice Officers to keep it safe. So why would you deliberately go below that level and announce it was your intention to recruit 5,000 more? Not that 5,000 is a realistic figure because the difference between current and planned establishments is much less than 5,000 and we all know that more cuts are planned for post 2015. MOPAC’s latest TOTAL establishment figure for the Met is May 2014 and showed 30,945.
Cynical, risky, reckless, downright criminal. They are playing with the safety of their residents and Tax Payers? If you cut Blair Gibbs in half I suspect you would find Policy Exchange running all the way through. Another major policy that I find inconceivable that he was not involved with. Are we now witnessing the rising of Phoenix Gibbs from the Bonfire of the Vanities?
This tells me everything I need to know about MOPAC and the Met. They have changed into a team of game-players. Maybe BHH, BoJo and Blair will be appearing on Big Brother sometime soon.