Boris Johnson has vowed to increase police productivity in time for the London Olympics.
Speaking at a select committee yesterday on 21st century policing, the London mayor said the real task ahead was not about recruiting more officers to police the capital’s streets, but making sure the Met police force has the right tools and training in place to do the best job it can.
He told MPs at the Home Affairs Select Committee: “We have got to make sure we increase police productivity to make sure they are doing what they want to do, and what we want them to do.”
Johnson was supposed to be answering a question about the Met’s “aggressive” recruitment strategy, which has seen neighbouring police forces lose thousands of officers to the Met because of the added London-pay weighting.
But he “brilliantly dodged” the question, according to an MP on the committee.
Johnson was also grilled about police community support officer (PCSO) powers, which he openly admitted he had wanted to increase. Currently, they do not have the power to make arrests.
However, he said: “Unfortunately it is not possible to give PCSOs powers of arrest. What we have done is given them more powers to issue fixed penalty notices for minor offences, such as nuisance parking. We’ve moved a small step in the direction I want to go. The more we beef up PCSOs, the more you elude distinction between them and an officer.”
Among other people-related policing issues discussed was diversity in the Met. Johnson vowed to make recruiting black and ethnic minority staff into the Met a priority. He added the current racism case against the Met police by assistant commissioner Tarique Ghaffur “would not make any difference to that agenda”.