Night Stalker – arrested

The news this morning that police had arrested a 52 year old, married man as a suspect in the case that has defeated them for years was of particular interest to me. The crime he has been arrested for is the rape and violence perpetrated on over a hundred older women aged between 65 and 93 over about a seventeen year period in South and South East London.

For several years I got involved in the search for the so-called Night Stalker in regard to the way the Met Police were collecting DNA samples from black men in South London. I was on the Met Police Authority for five years at that time.

I hope they have got the right man. The fear and terror perpetrated for so many years on older women who lived alone by this man was the most terrible thing in this part of London. It would put an end to a very long nightmare.

My involvement was really sparked by the police methodology used at the time when they asked for voluntary testing of the DNA of black men in the area.

As reported on Guardian on line:

The DNA trawl met some resistance in 2006 after the Met was accused of sending threatening letters to men who refused to take part.

Members of the Metropolitan Police Authority questioned its legality and warned it could inflame community tensions.

(I think their dates may be wrong – as I left the MPA in 2005)

The ask of local black men was to come in and clear themselves of any suspicion by having the DNA test – perfectly reasonable. Except that in the event if a black man refused to come in and refused the test – they were then effectively threatened into a position where ‘voluntary’ was in reality compulsory. Threatening letters were sent – I saw them.

It’s a very difficult situation where there is a real desperate need to find the person. The police knew from descriptions from witnesses that the man was a light-skinned black man. The decision was to test all black men in the area. Clearly co-ersion was not acceptble – but the frustration of the continued attacks and the years of non-success obviously took its toll.

An additional issue was that when DNA samples were taken from these thousands of black men – that DNA was also retained on the database forever – regardless of the fact these men were innocent. Of course, with the recent case in Europe, the Labour Government have been forced to agree to no longer keep information on innocent peoples’ DNA on their database. Typically, however, the Government has decided that it will keep it for six years.

DNA is the most brilliant detection tool – but it still can only be used for corroborating evidence in a court of law. So let’s hope that the man they have arrested is confirmed as the attacker by his DNA – that is the purpose of DNA evidence. 

What is less known or talked about in terms of DNA is that it was the policy of the Labour Government to collect the DNA of people who might (in their view) be likely to commit crimes in the future. This was a complete turnaround on our justice system where we have been used to being ‘innocent until proved guilty. Here was a policy that said basically that you are guilty until proved innocent. Hence the astounding position of the black community who find that around a third of the whole black and ethnic minority population of this country is held on that database . That happened – because of the high rate of disproportionate use of Stop and Search on that community. The other community over-represented on the database is the youth population.

Some years have passed now since my time on the MPA – but the issues around DNA, disproportionate use of police powers and the retention on the database of potential future suspects who are actually innocent at the point of having their DNA taken are still an issue.

I will be very interested to see why this man has taken so long to catch (if it is him) because, whilst eliminating suspects by DNA tests is a logical move, another problem with the DNA route to detection is that the police for that period were so focused on getting black men to come forward for DNA testing – they may have been distracted from perhaps more fruitful lines of enquiry.

Well – we will see when the details come out as to how and why the ‘night stalker’ was arrested and hopefully that will inform us whether DNA was the key to detection or simply to corroboration.

Don't vote for me!

Time Photo of City Hallto break the habit of a lifetime and see my name on a ballot paper – and not put a vote next to it!

I’m talking about the poll over at Liberal Democrat Voice on who should be the next Liberal Democrat candidate for London Mayor. Thanks all those who’ve put me (as I type) at the top of the poll, but sorry to tell you – I’ve no interest in putting my name forward for the selection when it kicks off again latter this year.

As for the other names that are listed – Brian Paddick is the one I’d pick. He impressed me when I was serving on the GLA and the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) – and as I wrote in another blog post at the time:

When I think of my time seeing the Met up close when I served on the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) for five year – Brian is the one officer I met who I believe really understands and gives weight to some of the problems that are contentious.

Haringey Police Consultative Group

Spent whole morning and lunchtime at a conference about the future of the Police Consultative Group (PCG) in Haringey. The Met Police Authority are cutting the funding – which is terrible. Haringey’s PCG is active, useful and works really well with the local Commander and all the groupings.

There is a very dedicated group of activists involved – and it isn’t really fair that they will have funding cut to equalise funding to all PCGs across London. I remember well from my time on the PCG that there were some that local MPA link members said were obsolete, non-functioning and needed to be ended – and then others that are active and quite vibrant like Haringey.

Anyway we all say at tables and had sessions addressing a number of issues around how local people could hold the authorities, politicians and police accountable; about the different levels of engagement; about young people and so on. Reasonably useful – but not sure about whether we reached conclusions.

Even more usefully, I met a couple of guys who work with young people. And one was lobbying me basically to stop politicians paying so much attention to the kids who go off the rails but to pay more to those who are positive role models but who might just need a bit of help or funding to get on – into uni – or whatever. And to spend money on a centre for the kids who are good but just need somewhere to go – not just pay attention and money to the negative.

And actually, that evening I am involved in a crime think tank (or anti-crime more accurately), so I bring it up and get it in to the consultative papers that Lib Dems will debate and take forward.

Brian Paddick

In the evening I am sponsoring and speaking in a panel debate on the clash between journalists/photographers and the police. The panel is meant to be an MP from each of the main parties – Boris Johnson, Austin Mitchell and myself – plus Assistant Police Commissioner Brian Paddick. However, the chair informs me as I arrive that both Boris and Austin have pulled out – leaving me and Brian. Well – it was quite a ‘feisty’ evening! Brian has rewritten the guidelines for police handling of media – because of the clashes, confiscations of equipment and altercations. The rewriting has some good points, but several journos gave personal accounts of mistreatment by the police – thus putting Brian on the spot. In the end, he accepted that officers do not always walk the talk on such things. Of course, guidelines, as I pointed out, are all very well – it’s ensuring that officers at the sharp end observe them. I still think there is a long way to go – and the bad news is that Brian is retiring in the near future.

And when I think of my time seeing the Met up close when I served on the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) for five year – Brian is the one officer I met who I believe really understands and gives weight to some of the problems that are contentious. From his avant garde approach to cannabis when he was commander in Lambeth, to his evidence to the stop and search scrutiny and subsequent work on that within the Met and the guidelines as above. I don’t know who will be defender of these things in the Met when he goes.

Back to work

Having come back from Holland last night – swing straight into action with visit to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). First impressions are important – and wow they have nice offices. So when John Wadham tells me that there was a deliberate policy to distance this new organisation from the police and the sort of police atmosphere in order to establish that they are totally independent – I would say they have succeeded. This was more like an ad agency than those rabbit warren, linoleum floored, old institutional fortresses that we so associate with law and order.

And they have had a tall order. More usually famous for their headline inquiries (de Menezes etc) than the bread and butter work of investigating and monitoring complaints, the task to gain public confidence is all. Plagued by high profile leaks from their ranks which caused distress to employees and all, they brought in an independent investigator to sort out their leaks and security. This whole system needs safeguards – but it also needs trust. The public faith in the police and in the complaints procedure has to be paramount – and so security and independence is vital.

When I was first serving on the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) one of my roles was go round to different police complaints departments and look through case files. Needle in a haystack work – but the point was that you could pick out stuff; you could get a pretty good feel for what went on between police person and complainant and you could understand the frustrations on both sides. I don’t suppose unless every exchange was taped you would ever really know the absolute truth – but the audit trails must be capable of picking up trends in a particular station or from a particular officer.

Anyway – all of this transferred to the new IPCC who seem to have a pretty thorough grip on the work – albeit the workload is substantive. Outside of the headline investigations into murders and deaths in custody, they also supervise numerous other investigations as well as having a general remit on police complaints and appeals against decisions. Add to this the new roles of investigating complaints against officers in the immigration and asylum departments which is coming down the line in legislation – next week second reading in Parliament – and they have a monumental task on their hands.

I then dash off to do the Simon Mayo Program on blogging and pod-casting – only to find that the content has changed consequent on the publication of the Power Commission report. Basically the report finds that democracy is stuffed and we need a new electoral system and power to the people. ‘Scuse me – but it really cheeses me off as Lib Dems have advocated this for decades – but the media have taken no notice. Now it is Labour on Labour – they are sitting up and begging. Oh well……………. Helena Kennedy, Shahid Malik and me are in one studio with Mayo and others in another studio. We all have a short say on the Power Commission findings. I point out that people are just sick of the spin and falseness of politicians and are crying out for anyone who actually believes in anything and isn’t prepared to drop principles for the mere mention of a vote.

Then a quick lobby by BAA to try and persuade me of their sense of conscience and how they try to be sustainable – and to be fair they are trying. However, if attitude to airplane traffic is just to predict and provide – we will get nowhere in saving the planet.

That having been said – I went for three days to Holland last weekend. I decided to take the train both ways to be sustainable – and see the countryside. Of course, travelling all of Friday and Sunday for a Saturday there perhaps I hadn’t got it quite right and a longer stay is needed to justify the four trains each way and the length of travel time. But my conscience felt good!

New Year message

2005 was a bit of a year – and then some.

As I look back over the year – I am thrilled with what we have been able to achieve. No – not just the General Election (clearly a stunning victory turning a Labour majority of 10,514 into a LibDem one of 2,395) but the causes and campaigns I and my LibDem colleagues have championed together with local residents. That’s what has made the difference in Hornsey & Wood Green.

Current battles ongoing perhaps sum up some of what I am trying to do in the constituency – which all boil down to making it a better place for local people to work, rest and play – to quote a famous old advertising tag line. I don’t think aiming for a clean, pleasant and safe environment is asking too much!

I’ll start with the Hornsey concrete factory planning application. London Concrete want to plonk a concrete batching plant on Cranford Way – right bang in the middle of a residential area – with schools and children and narrow streets – just the sort of place for over 300 HGVs per week to wreck the local ambience! I and my LibDem colleagues have been campaigning against this application since the moment it was lodged – together with great local group Green N8.

We passed the first hurdle with Haringey Planning Committee refusing the application – but in the way of the world – the developer has appealed and as I write we are in the middle of the hearings by Her Majesty’s Inspector to whom I gave ‘evidence’ the week before Christmas. You can read the evidence on my earlier blog posting about the concrete factory plans.

I invited both John Prescott and Ken Livingstone to see the evil that would be done. Neither accepted my invitation. Holding baited breath now and crossed fingers – this David and Goliath battle will be settled by the end of January.

Another battle that engages me is the fight against sitting mobile telephone masts near vulnerable people – like young children. The idea is to bring forward legislation that would enable local councils to refuse planning permission on the grounds of the precautionary principle – until such time as we have proof positive of what these masts do or do not do to our health. This doesn’t just happen in Hornsey & Wood Green but up and down the land. And of course, we all do use mobile phones, so we can’t be overly pure. The Government is still proclaiming that there is no evidence of damage to health. I have challenged the Government through Parliamentary channels to do the scientific studies necessary to look at the incidence of cancer around mobile phone masts in situ for 10 years – without which we are all in anecdotal territory. They haven’t responded as yet.

Locally, of course, we occasionally succeed and see off a phone mast application – but they relentlessly return nearby or at the same site but from a different company. Good news though – recently in a statement by the local Head of Planning in regard to refusing a particular mast in Fortis Green, he went as far as to say ALL future applications for mobile masts in the Haringey conservation area will be an outright NO from now on! Watch this space.

I am also still keeping up the pressure on Haringey Primary Care Trust (PCT) over the future of the Hornsey Central Hospital site. Following a long campaign against closure of the old hospital and then a long process of working with local residents and other interested parties – proposals for a new health facility finally came forth from the PCT for a mix of local health services and elderly care. However, dogged by funding problems caused by the withdrawal from renting some of the space by the Health Trust etc delays and fears about its future have crept in. So I recently met yet again with the Chair of the PCT and received personal assurances from him of his commitment to ensuring that the project goes ahead. But there must remain, until the public meeting in the New Year that he has promised me, concerns over what of the original promised facilities will actually proceed and get built.

As for policing – Safer Neighbourhood Teams are what we all want. They are what we have always wanted. But whilst London is promised complete roll-out in the next year – some ‘neighbourhoods’ are being left out. I have long campaigned to get a team into Highgate – and at last am encouraged that we are on our way to success. Highgate is split between three different boroughs. Now no police commander I know – despite their protestations about cross-border working – is willing to commit him or herself to an actual cross-border Safer Neighbourhood Team. So I have brought this to the Metropolitan Police Authority on several occasions. And am helped in my quest by Crystal Palace – ironically. Crystal Palace is split between five areas – and so the MPA are running a pilot there which if successful will be applied to neighbourhoods like Highgate which suffer from divided ownership. The sooner the better!

So – with obviously lots more going on than I can possibly begin to convey in this message – not to mention the fight of our lives against Labour’s attack on the fundamental principles of liberty and justice in our land – I look forward to a challenging and pretty energetic year ahead.

A very Happy New Year to you all!

Hornsey Central Hospital

Early morning meeting with Richard Sumray, Chair of Haringey Primary Care Trust (PCT). I have asked him to come and update me on the proposed development of Hornsey Central Hospital. It is now years since I joined local campaigners to campaign against the closure of the old hospital and then with local campaigners to ensure that a community health facility replaced what was lost.

Richard had been hoping to have a public meeting in December but this is now delayed until January because the relevant policy paper has not yet gone to the trust’s Board and won’t do now until January. The proposed scheme – the Primary Care Resource Centre, the Healthy Living centre and other health functions yet to be decided by the practitioners – is still on but there are still some big stumbling blocks remaining before the project can proceed. The second floor of the 2nd Stage, which was to provide offices, hit a dead end when it became clear that the costs were too high. The Strategic Health Trust rejected the project as it was thought to be unaffordable. Since then Richard Sumray and the Board have been re-examining the whole project for ways of making it more affordable and therefore viable.

The redevelopment is being funded through the Government’s LIFT scheme, which means involving a private partner. The PCT consulted their private partner over the idea that the private partner take on the risk of the top floor – developing it for themselves. This would theoretically make it financially feasible, and mean that there were no major changes to the amount of health services to be provided. However, there are risks. The PCT is pretty desperate to get the plans for Hornsey Hospital finished and through by March, because otherwise they will be left with a large financial deficit at the start of the next financial year. But because of the huge level of bureaucracy involved in LIFT schemes it is even money as to whether they will make it.

In the afternoon I am see an ‘informant’. Since my days on the Met Police Authority (MPA) I have been pursuing the use of DNA in the search for an abhorrent rapist. The crimes – against old women – are an abomination and have been going on for around ten years with no success by the police in capturing the criminal.

However, in recent years the police have been trawling the black community for ‘voluntary’ DNA samples. These samples have not, in my view, been voluntary at all. 125 refusniks received an intimidatory letter from a senior detective saying that he was going to look into their reasons for refusal and then let them know of his decision. Well – if it was voluntary – no need to look into anything or decide anything. Furthermore, five of those written to continued to refuse and in the end were arrested. Two gave in at that point, and the remaining three arrested had their DNA taken – as once arrested it is compulsory.

It is so easy to say end justifies means. It is easy to see the argument that this crime is so horrific that it is right to take DNA voluntarily or otherwise. Don’t get me wrong. The police are doing a great job. But it is a complete misnomer to call this type of testing ‘voluntary’. It is clearly mandatory in practice. And if mandatory DNA testing is happening, that should only be after a proper debate results in a decision to change the rules – we shouldn’t get mandatory testing introduced by the back door. Balancing civil rights, personal freedoms and the fight against crime are tricky – which is all the more reasons why such decisions should not happen on the quiet and without proper public debate.

Since then the trail had gone somewhat cold – for me. The police still hadn’t caught the culprit. Then I got an email from someone who only recently was pulled in to give a sample on a spurious excuse and refused. He said he couldn’t put it all in an email – so today he came into see me. And he had quite a tale to tell. Needless to say – I will be pursuing this as soon as I have put together an appropriate strategy to so do. It was extremely disheartening to hear some of the treatment he encountered.

Ironically, I then dash over to Earls Court for the Met Police Authority’s Christmas do! Very nice to see everyone again. I do miss the MPA – however being LibDem spokesperson on Police, Crime and Disorder and Prisons at least keeps me in the right portfolio.

Liberal Democrat conference, Blackpool

My bags are packed and I hi-tailed it out of town on Saturday morning from Euston. On the train, I sit down and the woman across the aisle from me immediately asks me if I am Lynne Featherstone. I cannot tell a lie! Actually, she turned out to be a constituent living in Creighton Avenue on her way to Glasgow to visit her Mum and we had a few enjoyable hours putting the world to rights; if only we were in charge!

Blackpool may well be a wonderful place for stag nights and hen parties for the young, drunk and noisy, but – sober and middle-aged, truly sorry and no offence meant, it would not be my first choice. Every time I enter the Winter Gardens – which is the conference centre – I try and imagine what nightmares were haunting the author of the design brief. Must have been truly evil!

The Conference Hotel is adequate – but is nowhere near the Winter Gardens and so the delegates are consigned to spending a good part of each day travelling between the two from main hall debates at the Winter Garden to all the fringe meetings at the main hotel and others. In fact, the local authority provided a free shuttle bus – but hardly anyone was told.

But to the business. My guess is – as always – that the media will focus on whether Lib Dems are going to the right or the left and whether Charlie boy’s leadership will be challenged. I turn out to be right on both counts. I do one fringe meeting on the right/left kafuffle. The title of the event is ‘Can the Liberal Democrats be part of a Progressive Consensus’? This is hosted by the Independent Newspaper and chaired by Steve Richards who does the early Sunday morning politics show on GMTV. (You can read my speech on my website).

I have a go a Gordon Brown – basically. Don’t believe he is capable of a consensus – progressive or otherwise. Or more accurately, Brown’s progressive consensus is just that – OK so long as you agree with him. Anyway – as everyone knows – I think Brown is a coward who keeps his head down below the parapet when the going gets tough, votes a straight New Labour ticket, is the author of the astronomically expensive and appalling part-privatisation of the tube and who broods in the shadows whilst waiting for Tony’s tide to go out.

But what the media really, really want – is for the Liberal Democrats to tear themselves apart on the basis that those of us who fight or represent old Tory seats will want to shift to the right and those of us who fight or represent old Labour seats (like me) will want to be on the centre-left of the political spectrum.

Clearly a disappointing night then as all four of us speakers – Simon Hughes, David Laws, Vince Cable and myself – in one way or another all argue that it isn’t a matter of right left – it’s about Liberal values. Especially when the Labour government is knee-jerking poorly thought out legislation into being and striking at the principles of justice and freedom that make our country what it is.

The other great debate going on is about multiculturalism and what it means to be British, particularly after 7/7.

Trevor Phillips, Chair of the Commission for Racial Equality, has thrown down the gauntlet with a nifty little sound bite: ‘we are sleepwalking our way into segregation’. His thesis being that we live in our cultural enclaves and mix less and less. Statement of the bleeding obvious I should say – although it strikes me lots of politicos are fundamentally in denial whilst a Sky TV poll clearly puts over 80% + of real people in line with that thesis.

I get two bites at this issue. I speak at a fringe meeting and then there is also a debate in the main hall.

For the debate, conference has introduced a new format where representatives send in their preferred topic for a discussion on an urgent issue. There is no motion or vote – but people’s views are taken back and with further work and consultation a motion will then be brought back to the next conference for decision. It’s my job to summate the debate.

I have my own views too- and whilst I do think we are becoming a segregated society, I don’t think the 7/7 bombers were making a statement about poverty or alienation when they blew us up or that solving the issues of poverty and alienation in our ethnic communities will have anything but a tiny effect on terrorism in ours or any Western country. Terrorists don’t generally come from the poorest or most alienated.

However, history has given us a bit of a lesson about where extremists go to find fodder for their causes. So whilst tackling poverty and alienation won’t directly stop terrorism, it will help make it harder for terrorists to recruit support in future.

I also chair two of the keynote speeches in the main hall. The second one is for my Home Affairs team leader – Mark Oaten – our Shadow Home Secretary. So with only a sentence or two to say I introduce him as the ‘toughest Liberal I know’ – a phrase picked up by the media sketch writers for the Telegraph and the Guardian! Mark had said a couple of days earlier that he would kill me if I introduced him thus – but I did it purposefully as I believe that ‘tough liberalism’ is the way forward – particularly in terms of law and order.

Mark gave a bravura speech.

I (and you will thank me for this) am not going to go through every fringe I spoke at – but I was allowed to pontificate on a much wider range of subjects than ever before. In my previous incarnation I was kept pretty much to my policing and transport portfolios. This time – outside of my usual training sessions for the party on ‘How we Won Hornsey & Wood Green’ and ‘Grow your Own Target Seat’, I covered Lords – the Last Bastion of Freedom?, What Difference would Electoral Reform make to Women? (not a great deal in my view); The Future of our Towns; Making the Breakthrough (or how to get our arses into gear in the 100+ seats we are second to Labour in for next time); Blogging and so on.

New experience for me (it is always great to do something you have never done before) was something called GNS. I had to go and do the radio responses on what Mark Oaten had said about breaking the consensus around Labour’s proposed new terrorist legislation. Whilst we support three of the proposals – an offence of training for terrorism, incitement to terrorism and acts preparatory to terrorism – we can’t support an offence ‘glorification of terrorism’ or the ‘three months detention without trial’. Briefly – the ‘glorification’ one is just too wide a definition. It would turn into a feast for lawyers all interpreting (as is their job) but with such a wide spectrum that it would be very hard for such legislation to be effective – and you don’t want the real terrorist dodging around the new legislation because it is poor and they have a good lawyer.

The other – three months detention – strikes at the very heart of our principles of justice – and is another form of internment. Moreover, having seen how stop and search works in practice when I was on the Metropolitan Police Authority – it would be just too easy for profiling to lead to autom
atic three month detention on suspicion – and suspicion as we tragically know from the Met shooting an innocent Br
azilian isn’t enough. And if after 14 days they need more evidence and more time, there are other ways. They currently put people under surveillance and the numbers are not such that that would be too difficult or expensive. In fact it might very well concentrate the police mind on intelligence-based evidence rather than suspicion. Three months internment would make them casual in their rigour.

Anyway – none of this was the point of my tale. The tale was about the GNS process. I was to speak for eight minutes to each BBC radio station around the country – live! So with headphones on in a tiny studio and with an electronics box – one after another station around the country dialled me up and did the interview. It was pretty tough going. I was just brilliant by about the fifth one – when I had got all my best lines in place – but definitely going off the boil with over-confidence by the ninth! But – as I say – had never even heard of this type of interview before.

And so – the rest was a late dinner with friends and pretty early to bed – and yes – it really was all work!

Incitement to religious hatred

10.15 on a Wednesday morning is the Lib Dem Home Affairs Team meeting. We all gather – Mark Oaten (Shadow Home Secretary), Alistair Carmichael (his deputy), me – (police, crime and disorder), the Lords Home Affairs team, staff and – today- Lord Lester as we are discussing the Equality Commission Bill going through the Lords that day.

I am still not one hundred percent convinced that we should have a single Commission that bungs together race, gender and disability into one body – but before we have a Single Equality Act. To me it is cart before horse – and smacks more of the Government’s desire to lessen the ability of the three current Commissions to lobby them successfully.

The other main legislation at the moment is the Incitement to Religious Hatred Bill. The idea is to tackle discrimination against Muslims in particular, but its provisions are likely to cause them more harm than good and stir up a whole raft of other evils. The increasing emphasis on bringing religion in line with race in terms of legislation is dangerous.

When I was Chairing the Stop and Search Implementation Panel of the Met Police Authority (until a few weeks ago) it was beginning to creep into that agenda too. There was a move to suggest that because of the increasing number of stops on Muslims (or more accurately those who looked ‘Muslim’) the police should introduce religious monitoring.

The initial reaction of the Met and the Labour members of the MPA was to jump to and deliver this to rectify the blatant discrimination that was being perpetrated against Muslims. But I fought it (amongst others) as the wrong solution to the problem – and moreover a political solution prior to the General Election.

I had the Home Office in to give some of their evidence on the research they had been doing into this area. It was very interesting – as Muslims in the North of England were dead against it – as opposed to Muslims in London. Many of the religious groups were dead against it – unsurprisingly. Jews and Sikhs who have both been persecuted through the ages for their religious beliefs made it quite clear that they did not wish to have to reveal their religion to anyone.

Anyway – the point I am making is that these are tinderbox times – and all of us in the political maelstrom had better be careful that we do not create a monster that destroys us. I know – dramatic language – but I am extremely concerned about religious freedoms, rights and free speech – which I regard as the tenets of a civilised and peaceful society.

Later at the Parliamentary Party meeting we have the hustings for Chair of the Parliamentary Party. It is the first time this has been contested – as in previous years there has only been one candidate. The result is the challenger (Paul Holmes) wins, defeating the incumbent (Matthew Taylor).

Leaving drinks

Surgery all morning – and in the afternoon my farewell drinks from the London Assembly. It was great to see everyone again. Brian Paddick came (representing Sir Ian Blair). He is just the best example of how police and policing should be – whether that is totally appreciated by the Met I am not sure.

Brian had just been appointed the lead person for the Met on its stop and search policy. Leaving the London Assembly has also meant leaving the MPA, so I’m no longer chairing its panel dealing with stop and search. But at least I know that there will be someone batting for truth and justice at the Met on this issue.