Thursday, 21 June 2012

Greenhalgh bombs on first outing at Assembly

When the Evening Boris publishes an article castigating a senior member of the Boris Johnson regime at City Hall you know there must be a pretty big problem. And so it was. For our former council leader Stephen Greenhalgh today employed the steamroller technique which seemed to cow so many of his own colleagues in H&F into meek submission against the gathered throng of the Police and Crime Committee at City Hall. 

It didn’t work. First came the news that the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe had been told not to come by Mr Greenhalgh. He only admitted he’d been behind this under sustained questioning by Green Party member Jenny Jones. And the Assembly Members themselves had been informed by an email to an official. Eight minutes before the start of the session. 

Now when you make a major blunder, as we all do from time to time, the best adage is usually to stop digging. Not Greenhalgh. The former big beast of Hammersmith Town Hall employed a fleet of JCBs to excavate furiously, ever deeper. 

Nostrils flared as he angrily declared that the Assembly Members should jolly well get over themselves – they were there to hold HIM accountable, not the Police Commissioner. The Police Commissioner was a busy busy man, and he shouldn't be spending as much time with Assembly Members in Mr Greenhalgh's view. And that was what it seemed to be all about – he wanted to be the main show, and not to be overshadowed by the man who everyone had been expecting to occupy the empty chair next to him. 

But Mr Greenhalgh wasn’t in Hammersmith Town Hall anymore – and was blasted repeatedly by Assembly Members from all political parties including his own for his “arrogance” and “ignorance of policing”. All very well to hold you accountable, withered Jenny Jones, but “you don’t know what you are talking about yet”.Lib Dem Caroline Pidgeon pointed out that he needed to show the Assembly some "respect" and at least have a conversation with people before simply making decisions like that and presenting them 8 minutes beforehand.While fellow Conservative Victoria Borwick said: “Whatever possessed you to talk to the Commissioner and advise him in this way is not a good start to your tenure.”

Wounding stuff. 

Mopsy - Not Stephen Greenhalgh
What followed was even more cringe-inducing as Mr Greenhalgh insisted that the newly re-named Mayor's Office of Policing and Crime, or MOPC, was not pronounced "Mopsy". Because that made it sound like a rabbit. It was infact MOPAC, elevaating the "and" to a capital "A" so it could be pronounced as the more grown-up sounding "Mo-pac".

 Although personally I think that sounds like a gangsta rapper. 

Tupac - Not Mo-Pac
Either way Mr Greenhalgh was at his best, showcasing the demented rhino impression he used to put on for the benefit of Hammersmith & Fulham for so long. But he more than met his match today, and I suspect he may turn up meekly next time with the Police Commissioner in tow. Especially after he was then spectacularly unable to answer any questions on the nature or planning of policing in London for the next hour and a half.

He even - and if you don't believe me (because I wouldn't) watch it here - told a stunned Assembly that he, the Deputy Mayor for Policing, had not been briefed on policing for the London 2012 Olympics. That's the Deputy Mayor for Policing in London speaking, just weeks from the biggest policing event the city has ever seen.

Chair of the Police and Crime Committee Joanne McCartney AM said:
“When the new arrangements for policing in London were established the then Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime said that it would be inconceivable that the Commissioner would not accept an invitation to appear before the Assembly. Sadly today his successor has prevented London’s elected representatives from hearing directly from the capital’s chief of police.” 

The Committee has a duty not only to hold the Deputy Mayor to account for his actions but also to investigate any matters of importance to policing in the capital. 

It is inconceivable that the Commissioner would not have important information to share with the Committee about failures in the investigation of rapes in London, public order policing, the operational use of Tasers and policing the Diamond Jubilee, all subjects for discussion at today’s meeting. 

We are committed to the transparent and accountable operation of policing in London; we hope the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime will come to share that objective. He failed today.”


  1. Cronyism at its very worst - Boris's personal appointment, being paid over £127,000 to do a job he knows nothing about, has never done before and evidently has no intention of getting stuck into.

  2. Total contempt for the committee and the job - clearly just phoning it in.

    The arrogance seems to be a defence mechanism for having no ideas, no opinions and no competence. The man's a buffoon.

    I could do a better attempt at making an answer up to those questions, without even 3 weeks in the job. I'm amazed the committee were so polite to him.

  3. You rightly note that it was MOPC, then it was rebranded as MOPAC because of sensitivities over the pronunciation but if you elevate "and" to capital "A", the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime, should surely now be MOFPAC?!

  4. Good write-up. But, what's the point in having a Youtube video on the page if it's private?