Recently in Metropolitan Police Commissioner Category

Congratulation to Bernard Hogan-Howe who has been appointed to the unenviable post of Metropolitan Police Commissioner (referred to in legislation as the Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis).

We wish him the best of luck, as he will need it, to fulfil his promise to cut crime in London and to deliver a safe Olympic Games.

He should learn from the mistakes of his predecessors as Commissioner or other senior ranks and ensure that

  • He does not get even peripherally involved in awarding any Metropolitan Police contracts to companies associated with his personal friends. (Sir Ian Blair)

  • He does not make any controversial political statements, or indeed any personal statements at all, during General or Mayoral Elections (Sir Ian Blair, again)

  • He does not take any paper briefing notes or discussion documents through the door at Number 10 Downing Street, where they might be photographed by the high resolution lenses of the word's media photographers. (Bob Quick)

  • Does not use corporate credit cards for lavish "national security" related expenses (Andy Hayman)

  • He does not get even peripherally involved in obtaining full or part time jobs for his or family or friends or their relatives (John Yates)

  • He does not accept any gifts in kind or hospitality worth more than a few tens of pounds from friends or acquaintances, even if such gifts are properly reported to the metropolitan Police Authority (Sir Paul Stephenson)

The Observer reports the apparently deepening scandal regarding abuse and fraud, by serving Metropolitan Police counter -terrorism and serious crime officers, of their corporate Amex credit cards.

It was bad enough when half a dozen of them were arrested, but it seems that the lax financial auditing and encouraged a "canteen culture" of expenses fiddling "within the rules" and some and outright theft from the taxpayer, just like with MPs expenses.

Card fraud probe targets 300 detectives

Scotland Yard officers are suspected of defrauding taxpayers of millions

* Rajeev Syal, investigations editor
* The Observer, Sunday 14 June 2009

More than 300 elite Scotland Yard detectives are suspected of defrauding the taxpayer of millions of pounds by abusing their corporate credit cards, the Observer can disclose.

300 detectives ???

Auditors who have examined the American Express accounts of 3,500 officers involved in countering terrorism and organised crime have reported almost one in 11 detectives to the Metropolitan Police's internal investigators.

A senior officer appears to have spent £40,000 on his Amex card in one year, without authorisation. Items bought by others without permission include suits, women's clothing and fishing rods.

The scale of the suspected fraud, disclosed in an internal Metropolitan Police Authority report, will send shock waves through the force. Until now, the investigation into expenses fraud was thought to have focused on fewer than 40 officers. It comes days after Sir Paul Stephenson, the Met Commissioner, faced the potentially damaging disclosure that six officers face investigation over claims that a drug suspect's head was forced into a lavatory that was flushed repeatedly.

[...]

Auditors at the Metropolitan Police Authority have spent two years examining receipts from the accounts of more than 3,500 officers. The Amex cards were issued in 2006 to detectives from specialist operations, which includes counter-terrorism and those involved in diplomatic and royalty protection.

The scheme was then extended to the specialist crime directorate, which counters organised crime, as well as conducting sensitive inquiries such as the cash-for-honours investigation.

The cards were for travel and subsistence, so that officers did not have to spend their own money while on long-running investigations away from their Scotland Yard base.

Sources have told the Observer that some detectives had fallen into the habit of withdrawing hundreds of pounds at a time from cashpoints. Other officers appear to have filled in blank receipts from restaurants to account for cash payments.

One source said: "Some people bought three-piece suits while in the far east and claimed that they needed them for work. But it would not have taken much nous to realise that it was 45C in the shade, and not the weather for a waistcoat."

The number of suspected fraudsters will be presented to the Met at a meeting tomorrow.

A report by Peter Tickner, the head of internal audit at the Metropolitan Police Authority, states that it has finished examining the Amex accounts of all officers. "In excess of 300 police officers have been referred to the Directorate of Professional Standards [DPS] by my staff and 46 of these have become formal investigations overseen by the Independent Police Complaints Commission," he wrote.

Only detectives suspected of overcharging by more than £1,000 have been referred to the DPS. Its investigators are believed to be examining hundreds of files.

Ordinary members of the public would have been fired and / or prosecuted for far less of a fiddle than £1000 !

The use of Amex cards was halted in December 2007. A number of officers have already been arrested in connection with the investigation.

So the corporate Amex cards were issued in 2006, and withdrawn at the end of 2007- what disgraceful mismanagement by Sir Ian Blair and his senior managers, including Sir Paul Stephenson !

Will nobody at Scotland Yard have the honour to take responsibility for this scandal and resign ?

Will Mayor of London Boris Johnson act decisively to restore public confidence in the Metropolitan Police Service

Various mainstream media reports are announcing the Sir Paul Stephenson appointed as Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis i.e. the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service.

e.g. BBC Stephenson to become new Met boss

The fact the decision to appoint the deputy to the previous Commissioner Sir Ian Blair to the post, has been leaked to the media ahead of the official announcement, sends exactly the wrong signal - it looks like the all too cosy relationship between the Labour Government's media manipulators and the head of Britain's largest Police force is continuing, just as before.

Will Sir Paul continue to be tainted by personal involvement in all of he major cockups and scandals involving the senior ranks of Metropolitan Police under Sir Ian Blair, or will he be able to get back to the fundamental principles of proper policing as espoused by Sir Robert Peel back in the 19th Century:

  • *Every police officer should be issued a badge number, to assure accountability for his actions.
  • Whether the police are effective is not measured on the number of arrests, but on the lack of crime.
  • Above all else, an effective authority figure knows trust and accountability are paramount. Hence, Peel's most often quoted principle: The police are the public and the public are the police.


The mainstream media are reporting that the scandal ridden Metropolitan Police chief, Sir Ian Blair (technically the "Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis") is expected to announce his resignation this afternoon.

How long he will hang on as a "lame duck" is open to question.

Who will his replacement be ?

What sinecure will Sir Ian be rewarded with by his Labour politician friends ?

Hopefully not the forthcoming appointment of a National Identity Scheme Commissioner (see NO2ID Campaign, or the future replacement for the Director General of the Serious Organised Crime Agency i.e. Sir Stephen Lander, the former DG of MI5 the Security Service) etc.

The Sunday Telegraph has a report which hints at some details of the various official investigations currently distracting the most senior officers of the Metropolitan Police Service from doing their jobs..

Sir Ian Blair, Metropolitan Police commissioner, had his rival bugged

Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan police commissioner, allegedly bugged Britain's most senior Asian policeman, according to leaked Scotland Yard documents.

By Chris Irvine
Last Updated: 3:55PM BST 17 Aug 2008

The papers allege Tarique Ghaffur, an assistant commissioner, had more than 300 of his telephone calls tapped in an elaborate operation overseen directly by Blair.

He was also photographed and taped attending more than 30 meetings with a fellow officer at restaurants and cafes in west London.

[...]

Although the surveillance operation officially targeted another officer, Ghaffur believes it was designed to trap him in a compromising position.

Officially they targeted Ali Dizaei, who was wrongly suspected of having contacts with prostitutes, corruption and spying for Iranian intelligence.

Ghaffur, 53, once the senior Yard officer responsible for signing off on surveillance operations, claims Blair was hoping to trap him into indiscretions even though he did not have the proper legal authority to monitor him.

[...]

Sir Ian Blair's snooping and investigations of his own senior officers, such as Tarique Ghaffur, Ali Dizaei and of Brian Paddick, have done immense damage to his own reputation, and to that of the Metropolitan Police Service itself.

It is only a couple of years ago since Sir Ian Blair admitted that he had secretly tape recorded a phone conversation with the then Attorney General Lord Goldsmith (astonishingly discussing telephone and other interceptions !) and also with members of the independent CPolice Complaints Commission. - see the BBC report Met chief in phone recording row

There is also the investigation into how exactly Andy Miller "a close personal friend" of the then Deputy Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, end up with multi-million pound contracts supplying the Metropolitan Police Service with "consultancy", supposedly to help with the integration of emergency 999 handling into military style C3i command and control and communications, computer and telephony systems ?

Why has it taken so long for the feeble Metropolitan Police Authority and the former mayor of London Ken Livingstone, to investigate any impropriety, some six years later ? Is it that they are simply ill equipped to understand modern computer and communications systems, and are as easily bamboozled by the false promises of easy technological magic fixes, as Whitehall mandarins and politicians are ?

Even if there was no impropriety in the contracts awarded to Teddington based Impulse Plus (which has subsequently been taken over by Hitachi Consulting), what benefit have Londoner's actually seen from the hundreds of millions of pounds which has seemingly been wasted on C3i "improvements" over the years ?

Anyone who has had the misfortune to dial 999, and then find that the people at the other end of the phone are completely unfamiliar with the geography of your location, as are the police who eventually turn up on site, will assume that the money has all been wasted or worse.

Boris Johnson needs to use the recently expanded powers of the office of Mayor of London, regarding the Metropolitan Police Authority, to root out the public perception of incompetence and the "politically correct" bureaucratic empire building, which has infected the Metropolitan Police Service, in spite of all the extra money and resources which it has been granted in recent years.

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