The release of the Policing Green Paper yesterday marks a clear path for Boris Johnson to assume the powers he’s called for since entering London politics: effectively granting him complete democratic control over policing services in London.
The Guardian states that ministers believe direct elections will provide “a clear and powerful public voice” in police decision-making. Of course, that rather depends on the seriousness of the Mayor or elected police representative in question, though the sentiment is admirable.
Whilst few people now doubt the importance which Boris Johnson places on crime – it being a major campaign plank – refusnik towns such as Hartlepool face the prospect of having policing run by men in monkey suits. Perhaps not what Jacqui Smith had in mind when launching this rather bold policy.
Writing in The Guardian, Heather Brook of Your Right To Know examines the issues surrounding the police’s inability – she says refusal – to release accurate crime maps for London. The article is worth reading in full as it covers this complex topic far more clearly than a summary of mine would.
Boris Johnson called for the publication of crime maps back in February. If the Policing Green Paper goes through in the autumn, he may finally have the authority to release them. Crime maps are a powerful tool in fighting city-wide disorder when used effectively. If the Green Paper can deliver them for London, then it will be worth while.