Ken Livingstone – The Arch Hypocrite

For anyone who was starting to buy into the “cuddly Ken” image he is trying to promote should watch tomorrow’s MPA meeting.

Livingstone is using the slot normally reserved for people (or their families) who have been the victims of miscarriages of justice or have been hurt by police mistakes (the De Menezes family and Blair Peach’s family have both come in recent years) to present a petition about police numbers.

Not only is this crass and blatantly political but also deeply hypocritical, the policy that Livingstone is campaigning against is one initiated under his mayoralty while there was a Labour Chair of the MPA.

Project Herald is about getting police officers out from behind desks and onto the front line, while some police officer posts will be civilianised it will release about 550 officers to go out on the beat rather than sitting behind desks in custody suites.

Livingstone was once a slick political opperator but this move is stupid, obviously linked to his bid to become Labour’s mayoral candidate and deeply hypocritical. He has screwed up big time.

I intend to tear into Livingstone at tomorrow’s meeting, but I might be at the back of a long queue.

5 responses to “Ken Livingstone – The Arch Hypocrite

  1. James,

    Ken has launched a campaign with a petition for Londoners to sign.

    The petition says: ‘We call on the Metropolitan Police Authority and the Mayor Boris Johnson to reverse the decision to cut 455 police officers and guarantee the future of London’s dedicated 630 safer neighbourhood police teams.’

    I cannot see how anyone could possibly object to this petition, it makes perfect sense. Put politics aside for a minute – forget about the fact that Safer Neighbourhood Police Teams were a real success story under the last Mayor. The fact is that they worked and the communities they serve love them. Cut them down in size or remove them altogether and it will be a disaster.

    Ken is right on this one I'm afraid James.

  2. Excalibur

    Three points.

    1. Criticising our policies is fine, it's what political opponents do but the process he is using is wrong.

    2. He is trying to imply that the SNTs are being cut, which they are not. The reductions are in desk jobs which tie up warranted officer posts, the changes will free up uniformed officers to go out on the beat providing an extra 550 front line officers available for patrol.

    3. How can you say that “Ken is right on this one” when he is sitting on both sides of the same argument? This policy is HIS policy! Project Herald was started under him, he is criticising his own policy. Are you saying he is right to introduce the policy or right to criticise the policy, he can be right on both.

  3. Thanks for the informative response, James. In response –

    1. Maybe, but you have to admire his innovation! He could have quietly faded away and wrote his memoirs, but he has a passion for London and for public service. I may not agree with most of his policies, but I admire his dogged determination, innovation, ability to re-invent himself and staying power. If this is what it takes to raise the issue publicly, so be it.

    2. I'm glad that you have said that SNTs are not being cut. They are a valuable resource and any attempt to dismantle them or merge them would be disasterous. I'm all for desk bound officers being freed up to go out on the streets, but will this actually happen? I believe they'll not end up on the streets, but will be siphoned away by Scotland Yard into a bureaucratic silo. I think the number of officers available for front line patrolling will actually fall.

    3. I'm saying that Ken was right on both, bizarre as it may seem! Ken was right to intoduce the project and it's aims were laudable. However I was under the impression that things had now changed and that the officers released by this initiative would no longer be available to front line policing – hence he's right to now criticise what appears to be a 'smoke and mirrors' sleight of hand.

  4. Hi James,

    As a police authority member, you're well aware I'm sure that the 455 officers being cut are spelled out in Boris Johnson's budget and are nothing to do with project herald.

    Can you explain why you think it's honest to muddle these two separate issues?


  5. I heard that Project Herald was dead in the water and that the custody officres freed up by the civilianisation of their posts would not be extra patrolling officers?

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