Tag Archives: police

Met police commissioner asked about Newham uniforms

11 Sep

The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee met today to discuss security at the Olympic Games. Among the witnesses was Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe.

He was asked by Julian Huppert, Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge, about the importance of the public not being confused about who was and who was not a police officer and in particular about the new uniforms being worn by Newham’s ‘law enforcement officers’. 

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The Enforcers

4 Sep

Newham_leo

Contrary to what what you might think at first glance, this is not a picture of four police officers. It accompanies a double page spread in the latest Newham Mag (issue 257) disturbingly headlined “Power to the Enforcers.” These ‘Enforcers’ are, in fact, Newham council staff.

The article explains the role of these 52 new ‘law enforcement officers’ (formerly known as the anti-social behaviour team) who will “work side-by-side” with the 66 extra Metropolitan Police officers the council already pays for to target anti-social behaviour and other ‘low level’ nuisances in the borough.

While the article takes great pains to explain what the powers of these ‘enforcement officers’ are and how these differ from the powers of real police officers it says nothing about why the mayor and council find it necessary to dress them up in police-like uniforms.

As we know from previous experience with Newham’s “Community Constabulary” if you dress people as police officers and have them patrol like police officers they will start to believe they are actually police officers, and they will behave accordingly (and not in a good way).

Dressing relatively untrained civilians as police officers does nothing for public safety and may even put the enforcement officers in physical danger. It certainly puts them at risk of committing offences under section 90 of the Police Act 1996. I wonder what, if any, legal advice the mayor asked for before ordering the uniforms? It would have been foolish in the extreme to go ahead without any.

Given what happened with the Community Constabulary I don’t understand why we are going back down the same path. Why is the Mayor so intent on running his own private, uniformed police force?

 

 

Rotten Boroughs

29 Aug

I see that the latest issue of Private Eye (no. 1321) again features a story about Newham in its Rotten Boroughs section. This one focuses on the re-uniforming of the council’s anti-social behaviour officers in a manner that harks back to the dark days of the ‘Parks Constabulary’.

As you can see from the picture on Mike Law’s blog, which is reproduced in the Eye, the ASBOs look exactly like real police officers, except that they’re not:

It is an offence to impersonate a police officer. What, I wonder, are the real police going to do about it?