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Parliamentary and Political Monitoring Report w/c 12th February 2018

By DPF Admin15th February 2018August 6th, 2019Area Updates, Latest News, Northern Updates, Southern Updates

Written parliamentary questions about the MDP were answered by Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood this week, in which he explained the reasons behind the MDP being subject to College of Policing fitness requirements, and gave the number of MDP officers each year since 2010. The questions had been asked by MPs who had attended the DPF’s parliamentary reception in December, and the DPF is grateful for their ongoing support.

The challenges facing UK policing as a whole were also placed in sharp focus with week, with new figures reported in the national media revealing difficulties in retaining and recruiting officers; while The Sun has reported that the Metropolitan Police is investigating 9,000 fewer crimes per month, with many offences deemed ‘low-level’ going uninvestigated. The reduction is a consequence of the demands on the Met’s resources as it seeks to make hundreds of millions of pounds in savings.

Overview

·      Parliamentary questions on the MDP answered

·      Metropolitan Police investigates 9,000 fewer crimes as it leaves low-level crime unchecked

·      Police recruitment and retention crisis worsens

·      London Mayor commits business tax to police funding

·      Senior counterterror officer faces dismissal after losing confidential documents

Parliamentary questions on the MDP answered

A series of written parliamentary questions, asked by SNP defence spokesman Stewart McDonald, Rosie Cooper, and Defence Select Committee member Madeleine Moon have been answered by Defence Minister, Tobias Ellwood. Ms Cooper tabled two questions; the first asked what assessment has been made “of the relevance of College of Policing fitness standards for Ministry of Defence Police. Mr Ellwood said that the MDP is “committed to adopting the national policing standards as set by the College of Policing in order to fulfil the Ministry of Defence requirement and to meet its agreed commitments to the national Strategic Armed Policing Reserve and Operation Temperer.”

Ms Cooper’s second question asked what estimate the MoD has made “of the cost of the Institute for Naval Medicine developing a bespoke fitness assessment” for the MDP. Mr Ellwood responded saying that “the Institute of Naval Medicine determined options for a Ministry of Defence Police occupational fitness standard following a study undertaken during 2014. There are no current plans to commission any further work from the Institute of Naval Medicine on this matter.”

Mrs Moon asked how the MoD “determines the level of security to be set at each of its establishments; and if he will make a statement.” Mr Ellwood said that “The Ministry of Defence (MoD) sets policy for the range of security measures required to protect its people, infrastructure and equipment on MoD establishments. Local implementation to mitigate security risks is dependent on the threats and vulnerabilities of individual sites.”

Mrs Moon also asked which MoD establishments have changed their security requirements in the past three years, but Mr Ellwood said that this information was “not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.”

Mr McDonald asked “how many officers were employed by the Ministry of Defence Police in each year since 2010.” Mr Ellwood gave the following figures, as of 31 March each year from 2010 to 2017: 3,464; 3,302; 2,949; 2,660; 2,497; 2,503; 2,520; 2,570.

Ms Cooper, Mrs Moon and Mr McDonald all attended the DPF’s parliamentary reception in December, at which Tobias Ellwood addressed Federation members and guests. We are grateful for their continued interest in the MDP and security of the MoD estate. While the responses by Mr Ellwood provide a minimum of information in terms of usage of College of Policing fitness standards as opposed to bespoke Institute of Naval Medicine assessments, and how security requirements at MoD establishments is assessed, the responses will help inform the Federation’s response to the Modernising Defence Programme.

Metropolitan Police investigates 9,000 fewer crimes as it leaves low-level crime unchecked

The Sun  has reported that Metropolitan Police’s decision not to investigate low-level crime as a cost-saving measure has resulted in 9,000 cases a month being “ignored” amid a 7.5 percent surge in crime in the capital. The paper discovered this through a Freedom of Information request, after the Metropolitan Police announced last September that it would not investigate low-level crimes such as minor assaults, car crime, crimes involving a loss of under £50, and investigations requiring more than 20 minutes review of CCTV footage. This has resulted in 37,370 fewer cases being investigated between September and December 2017 compared with the previous year, even though the number of robberies has increased by 40 percent in that time.

Mark Simmons, Deputy Assistant Commissioner at the Metropolitan Police, said that they had been forced “to balance the books with fewer officers and less money.” Former Detective Super Intendant of the Metropolitan Police, Mick Neville, said that “police are waving the white flag at crimes. There is little doubt other forces will follow.”

Police recruitment and retention crisis worsens

It has been reported in The Guardian that the number of police officers in England and Wales has decreased by 1,213 officers in six months. The Metropolitan Police accounted for more than half of the decrease, having lost 646 officers. However, North Yorkshire lost the highest proportion of their officers, with 4.2 percent – 57 officers – leaving the force.

The Home Office described police recruitment and retention figures as “stable” in the evidence it submitted to the Police Remuneration Review Body and referred to the increase in police funding of up to £450m on the year. However, Labour’s Shadow Policing Minister, Louise Haigh, said that the Conservatives were “out of touch” with the British people.

A spokesperson from the National Police Chief’s Council said: “Police chiefs recognise that the policing settlement for this year is better than last year and we have welcomed the potential to increase resources. However, differences in the makeup of funding between forces mean that the increase in budgets will vary between 1.6% and 3.6%, and forces are still facing difficult choices.”

London Mayor commits business tax to police funding

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced that he will use £60m per year in revenues generated from business rates in London to help fund the Metropolitan Police . Since 2010-11, the Metropolitan Police’s budget has decreased by more than £700m, which equates to nearly 40 percent, resulting in the reduction of police numbers in the Force by a third. The money, which previously supported non-policing services is intended to reinforce policing numbers, with Mr Khan believing cuts could result in police numbers in the capital falling below 30,000 which he claimed is “a dangerous low which presents a serious risk to the safety of Londoners.”

Mr Khan said that this money can fund “an extra 1,000 officers” into the force and the Metropolitan Police will save a further £3.3m by not having to borrow the money and pay interest. Mr Khan said that “the Government is failing in its primary duty to ensure the safety and security of the public.” Gareth Bacon AM, Chair of the London Assembly Budget and Performance Committee, responded to the announcement saying that “this money will not solve all of the Met’s financial difficulties – but it helps.” Shadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbott, also welcomed the announcement.

Senior counterterror officer faces dismissal after losing confidential documents

Assistant Chief Constable of West Midlands Police Marcus Beale is facing calls to resign from a special disciplinary panel investigating him losing confidential documents, the BBC has reported. The highly classified documents had been lost from Mr Beale’s unmarked car in May and included minutes from a meeting of the Executive Liaison Group, which passes on intelligence from major covert terror investigations to police. Mr Beale has subsequently been suspended on full pay since November and pleaded guilty to breaching the terms of the Official Secrets Act in December, when he was fined £3,500. The documents should not have left police premises but were in Mr Beale’s car for five days before going missing and they have not since been found. Although Mr Beale is due to retire in April, he would lose his £215,000 pension lump sum if dismissed.

Chair of the panel, Corinna Ferguson, said that the panel considered dismissal “the necessary sanction for what we regard as a serious breach of protocol.” The ultimate decision will be made by David Thompson, the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police. However, Mr Beale’s legal representation called the act “wholly out of character” and said that dismissal “would be grossly disproportionate given the contribution made by this officer to policing.”

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