So the race is on to secure the top spot at the Met. With the recent falling from grace of the last two commissioner’s it’s getting to look more like a poisoned chalice than a job from heaven. Still, quarter of a million quid’s gotta be worth a punt.
I spent a fair bit of time in the car yesterday and heard lots of people gushing about how the current, er, previous commissioner was well-liked, respected, a copper’s copper, cleared up the crime rate, London a much safer place, yadda, yadda, yadda.
I wonder who these people are who thought so highly of Paul Stephenson. This is a man who, many officers will say, failed to support his staff over pay issues, failed to support his staff over personal safety by a) making them go single patrol and b) headed an organisation who declined to give front-line officers Taser capability when forces with far less staff, smaller budgets & less risk were making their staff safer. He steadfastly refuses to bring the Met into the 21st century by making them wear a uniform which most forces in the land have realised is no longer fit for purpose (jacket & ties).
He’s a man on Ã‚Â£260,000 a year who sees nothing wrong in accepting a five-week recuperation at a private health club belonging to a man his outfit hired for PR work despite being previously employed by the News of the World, a paper which his outfit were investigating. Even if his choice of luxury health club wasn’t called into question, was the man not able to actually pay for the services provided, which included services run at the site by the husband of one Rebecca Brooks?
Then we hear about Assistant Commissioner Yates (who undoubtedly did good work on anti-terrorism) suspected of joining the nepotism club in assisting a daughter of one of the main players at the News of the World.
Five very senior staff members of the Met being referred to the IPCC in one hit. It’ll be a wonder if there are any left to step into all the holes being made in the fallout.
And how come the head of an organisation employing someone from the News of the World for a bit of PR work is ripe for a sacrificial falling-on-swords ‘the right thing to do’ if you’re a police officer but not if you’re a prime minister?