Political interference at the Yard slammed by Sir Paul Stephenson
METROPOLITAN Police Chief Sir Paul Stephenson has joined the war or words with Boris Johnson, telling an audience of fellow officers: "The police service is not part of any government."
"It is our responsibility to set strategy."
Stephenson and his allies at Scotland Yard are reckoned to fed up with Johnson's Head of Policing, Kit Malthouse, who said earlier this month that he had his "hand on the tiller" of the Met.
Borrowing Malthouse's maritime metaphor, Stephenson told the Police Superintendents' Association conference: "Anybody who knows about sailing knows only small boats have tillers.
"If you have a supertanker you have a bridge and a captain. I'm the captain, I know where the bridge is."
Stephenson's intervention is noteworthy partly because he himself benefited from political interference in the Met when his predecessor Sir Ian Blair was given the boot by Johnson.
“If we need proof that politics and policing do not mix we should all reflect on the action of the London Mayor in relation to the Metropolitan Commissioner in October last year when Boris Johnson effectively sacked Sir Ian Blair,” said PSA President Ian Johnston.
"Simply put, I have real personal fears that political interference is growing and that it will ultimately result in our fine reputation being damaged beyond repair."
One of the issues at the heart of the dispute is the plans by Tory party leader David Cameron to bring in elections for police chiefs and the fear that the Met will be used as a test case for the scheme.