Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Boris on Parks Police

Questions have been asked at the London Assembly….

Police officers patrolling parks (1)
Question No: 1219 / 2011
Jenny Jones
It has been reported that Wandsworth and Redbridge Councils will be using police officers to replace current civilian park patrols. Which local authorities are you talking to about using officers in this way?

Written response from the Mayor
No other Local Authority has suggested that they wish to use police officers to provide an additional policing service within their parks.

Police officers patrolling parks (2)
Question No: 1220 / 2011
Jenny Jones
In the buy one get one free offer made to boroughs, did the Mayor or Metropolitan Police suggest that police officers could be used to replace current park patrols?

Written response from the Mayor
Officers deployed under the Match Funding Scheme are being used to address local priorities as defined by the Local Authority.

Police officers patrolling parks (3)
Question No: 1221 / 2011
Jenny Jones
Do you think that providing the free police officers to patrol what have been described as some of London’s safest parks in Wandsworth and Redbridge represents good value for money for the Metropolitan Police?

Written response from the Mayor
Yes, the scheme is an excellent initiative. The Match Funded officers represent additional resources and are being deployed in partnership with those Local Authorities that wish to participate in the scheme, to address their local priorities.

Police officers patrolling parks (4)
Question No: 1222 / 2011
Jenny Jones
Has any guarantee been given to Wandsworth or Redbridge councils that officers allocated to park patrols will not be abstracted to other duties?

Written response from the Mayor
The Match Funded officers will be dedicated to their assigned duties as agreed with the Local Authority and only abstracted in the case of an emergency for example, an act of terrorism; a fire, flood or other natural catastrophe; an accident, riot or disturbance, or public order event of exceptional magnitude or severity.

Editor’s Notes:

Don’t you just love answer (3), +12 – 12 = 0 = “additional resources”. This is what passes for a good education in these modern times?

No organisation is beyond criticism and the Metropolitan Police is no different. Good as they are there is one thing that has infuriated me over the many years I have been “well known” to them. It is their rule that officers can spend no more than a couple of years in any one post. There may be good reasons for this, but if so they have escaped me. The problem is that they are piss poor at passing on local knowledge to their successors. Result is they fall into the same local traps every couple of years and then have to dig themselves out with the assistance of people like me - and sometimes people like me move away. No such problem of consistency and continuity for the Redbridge Parks Police, but then such qualities do not seem to be valued by those in charge.


  1. re: response 1... the reason no other borough has suggested using Boris's scheme to replace P.P. is that very few have their own P.P. anyway.
    re: response 2... do LBR now define the parks and open spaces as hotspots? If so why have they only realised this after 5 years of having P.P. in place, having reduced crime and anti-social behaviour dramatically.
    re: response 3...Boris's lift does not seem to go to the top floor anymore. If he thinks that using met officers in "Safer Parks Award" winning parks instead of the current system is "Good Value For Money" then he is definately barking up the wrong tree.
    If the officers will be used to address local hotspots then let them deal with the increase in Robbery, Burglary and Theft From and Of Motor Vehicles which figures show, is rising rapidly in Redbridge.
    re: response 4... NO. no guarantee can be given that when core team officers are abstracted to other dutes such as Olympics, Queens Diamond Jubilee etc... that the parks officers won't be taken to cover the officers who have been taken elsewhere. They are first and foremost Police Officers under the direct control of the Borough Commander who will deploy them where the need is greatest (and this most certainly won't be parks)
    Public Order Event of severe magnitude.... is millions of extra visitors not severe enough for you? L.U.L. will only have to run another two or three trains to be able to carry the visiting commuters to the games (won't they?)

    EDITOR... it is spelt EJUKASHIN these days, INNIT !!

  2. There have been a number of Parks Constabularies set up (not all are still in existence) BUT it seems that only Redbridge and Wandsworth have gone for BOGOF?

    If it is such a good idea then why isn't everyone rushing to take up the offer?

    The Royal Parks Constabulary had always policed Londons major parks until 2004 when it was dissolved and replaced by the Metropolitan Police Royal Parks Operational Command Unit. All "royal parks officers" are now Metropolitan Police Officers and now have the full powers of a constable anyway.

    However the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984 was amended (Section 24A, replacing parts of Section 25), as amended by Section 110 of the Serious Organised Crime & Police Act (SOCA) 2005, giving Parks Police at least the same Powers of Arrest as a PCSO ("persons other than a Constable").

    If one of the reasons for dispensing with Parks Police is that they have no jurisdiction outside Parks, then that would not seem to be the case as they have at least the same "jurisdiction" as a PCSO.

  3. The correspondent at 1/6/11 10.49 am makes a very valid point. The difference is that PCSO's are discouraged from getting into arrest situations and therefore have been tarnished by that directive. Of course they are also not trained in sufficient detail to allow them to get that involved with situations where an arrest for crime may need to happen. SNT's usually work so that there is at least a Constable working alongside them. They also do not carry PPT which has become a necessary part of an Officers kit. The Parks Constables are trained in basic law, evidence gathering, evidence preservation, case papers and just about everything Home Office Constables do. In fact as has been mentioned a number of them are ex Met and have done all the things the Met currently do. Unfortunately clearly that is not good enough for Redbridge. Kensington and Chelsea didn't want it nor did Hammersmith and Fulham. This is a very unsavoury business conducted by a very unsavoury group of Councillors who just don't listen and are happy to peddle inaccuracies and misinformation hoping the public will swallow it.

  4. Press release:
    Met officers taking over staff roles
    The Metropolitan Police 2011-14 policing plan will reduce the proportion of staff in the workforce, with an 11% reduction of staff and 5% reduction of officer numbers.

    The Met has one of the lowest proportions of staff in the workforce in comparison with other forces. Jenny Jones is concerned that this shift means officers are being moved into jobs previously done by staff for a lower cost, including uniformed staff such as PCSOs and others dealing directly with the public.

    At the London Assembly plenary meeting on the 8th June, Jenny will question the Chair of the MPA Kit Malthouse and the Met's Deputy Commissioner Tom Godwin on the value for money of this change.

    Reportedly, Lambeth police are planning to fill five front counter vacancies with officers rather than specialist station reception staff or PCSOs. Further, the proposed reorganisation of the control room will see a loss of staff posts with officers taking over some of the work. Changes to Safer Schools teams include 70 officers replacing 102 PCSOs and the Safer Transport command has seen 510 traffic warden and PCSO posts replaced by 413 officers.

    The Mayor's buy-one-get-one-officer-free offer to boroughs has resulted in proposals for officers to take over park patrols from local authority staff in Redbridge and Wandsworth.

    Jenny said: “I am worried that the focus on keeping up officer numbers means the Met are taking a backward step by putting officers into roles that can be done by staff. All the advice in delivering a better police force for less recommends making greater use of police staff.

    Beyond financial savings, there are other advantages to using police staff in these roles, as they tend to stay in the same role longer, developing expertise and local knowledge. “Police officers are highly trained with specialist skills and should be used in roles that require these skills. Putting officers on front counters, when this can be done successfully by specialist staff for less, delivers poor value for money for Londoners”.


    Today sees stage 1 of 4 leading to the total disbandment of our Parks Police. To those of you now facing unemployment I say that the residents of this borough appreciate what you have done for us even if this lousy rotten hypocritical ungrateful ConLib coalition council does not. We hope that you will soon find what you are looking for to secure your futures.


    "In Unity Progress" my ****.