The Metropolitan Police Authority is in session and Deputy Mayor Kit Malthouse AM DCiC* and Putative Deputy MOPC** (pronounced “Mopsy”) is in the Chair. He has mellowed slightly since the beginning of the meeting.
Joanne McCartney AM was first on the buzzer to raise the vexed question of the Commissioner’s dinner companions, but Baroness Dee Doocey AM was quick to get in on the act. They were following up yesterday’s Guardian story which dramatically headlined:
Phone hacking: Senior Met officers dined with News of the World editors
– actually for Baroness Doocey following up may be the wrong word as she was quoted in the story and it related to information provided to MPA members a few hours/minutes before the Guardian published it.
Deputy Commissioner Tim Godwin rushed to defend his boss, Sir Paul Stephenson (who is still away recuperating from surgery). One of the unavoidable tasks of being Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis is to meet stake-holders, opinion-formers and the like. And apparently – also unavoidably – some of these encounters have to take place over dinner.
No, he wouldn’t meet for dinner someone under personal criminal investigation, but if it was someone in a hierarchy that wouldn’t preclude meeting someone further up that hierarchy.
So, if Ronnie Kray was under investigation, the Commissioner wouldn’t meet him, but, if Reggie Kray was the more senior twin and not under current investigation, dinner in The Blind Beggar would be fine.
Actually, the reality is that for Sir Paul Stephenson, journalists feature even lower down the list of desired dinner companions than MPA members. This was duty not choice.
*Dog Catcher in Chief
**Mayor’s Office of Policing and Crime