The Metropolitan Police Authority’s Uber Vice Chairman Deputy Mayor Kit Malthouse AM (the UVCDMKMAM – to me, at least, if nobody else) has made no secret, since he first made his appearance on the MPA in July 2008, of his impatience with the Independent Members of the MPA. “Who elected you?” he sneers at the slightest provocation and his visible irritation as some colleagues question, opine or just sit there quietly is palpable. He makes it quite clear that he cannot wait until all this irritation can be focused on those MPA Members who are also London Assembly Members for whom he also has no time or really, really get on his nerves or otherwise grate on his sensibilities.
The UVCDMKMAM has been telling everyone that it is only a matter of months before the MPA is abolished and he will have unfettered access to Sir Paul Stephenson’s tiller. At least he is consistent about this, as he has been saying the same thing for the last year and a half.
So how is this going to come about? The UVCDMKMAM says that “Dave” has told him (suggesting a degree of personal intimacy that is not confirmed by other observers) that the Bill to abolish police authorities and to create directly-elected police commissioners will be in the first Queen’s Speech of a new Conservative Government (in the remote possibility that such a thing comes to pass – that’s my parenthetical comment, not Dave’s or the UVCDMKMAM’s). It apparently goes without saying that of all the pressing issues that might face such a hypothetical Cameron administration this will be near the top of the list.
So to carry on with our hypothetical journey, the timetable begins to look like this:
- Bill introduced in Parliament – July 2010 (or more likely October/November 2010, given the complexity of the changes needed to the various Police Acts, the GLA Act etc and the length of time taken by the Home Office to prepare the draft legislation)
- Bill receives Royal Assent – late Spring or Summer 2011 (or more likely October/November 2011 depending on the size of the putative Government’s majority in the Commons and on how compliant are the Lords)
- Home Office prepare draft regulations to implement the details of the Act and lay them before Parliament – Spring 2012 (this is optimistic – the much simpler GLA Amendment Act that inter alia gave the Mayor the power to appoint himself as Chair of the MPA achieved Royal Assent on 23rd October 2007, but the regulations were not finalised in time for the Mayoral elections in 2008 and the Mayor could not become Chair of the MPA until five months after the elections on 1st October 2008; these regulations will be much more complex even assuming they do not also deal with the abolition of police authorities outside London)
- abolition of MPA – earliest date June 2012 (or when the mandate runs out for the present members of the MPA)
The UVCDMKMAM is right. It may only be a matter of months – thirty-one in fact.