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Police Advisory Committee For London

Volume 264: debated on Thursday 19 October 1995

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on which dates the police advisory committee for London has met since 1 January; and if he will place a copy of its minutes of proceedings in the Library. [36512]

The Metropolitan Police Committee met on 27 February, 21 March, 25 April, 25 May, 22 June, 19 July, 21 September and 6 October. Its sub-committees, on remuneration matters and performance indicators, have met separately on several occasions.

The duty of the Metropolitan Police Committee is to advise Ministers on policy and the minutes of its meetings are therefore confidential. I expect the chairman to produce an annual report and I shall place a copy of that in the Library in due course.

Does not the Home Secretary think that non-publication of minutes is a hierarchical and undemocratic practice? Will he confirm that the principal duties that he has asked the Committee to perform relating to budgets and finance reflect the wrong attitude to public service, both in terms of the Government as a whole and his own particular style? Is not that specific quango, which probably spends between £300,000 and £400,000 a year, an affront to the citizens of London, whatever their political view?

The answers to the three questions posed by the hon. Gentleman are no, no and no.

Does my right hon. and learned Friend believe that the police advisory committee for London will have as much chance of success as the borough police consultative committees currently have, including wide representations in boroughs? Does my right hon. and learned Friend remember that the Labour party bitterly opposed the establishment of the borough consultative committees, particularly in Ealing and Hackney, and refused to serve on them for many years?

My hon. Friend is entirely right. That is a part of the Labour party's record that it would prefer to forget, but many of us remember it. I am confident that the Metropolitan Police Committee will play an important part in improving the way in which policing in London can involve the community.