Is Mayor Johnson Macavity or the Metropolitan Police Authority’s Cheshire Cat?

Mayor Boris Johnson’s attendance record at the three full meetings of the Metropolitan Police Authority since he assumed its Chair is as follows:
6th October 2008 – two hours
27th November 2008 – one hour
29th January 2009 – zero hours

The trend is clear.

In November Mayor Johnson was being Macavity leaving after an hour so that his representative on Earth – Kit Malthouse – had to deal with a difficult discussion about the draft Policing Plan and the budget.

Today Mayor Johnson was in Davos for the World Economic Forum and he was being the Cheshire Cat: there was nothing for Macavity to avoid – if anything it was the most somnolent meeting of the Police Authority ever – so all we had was the memory of Mayor Johnson’s at the photo-call to introduce Sir Paul Stephenson as the new Commissioner.

(I am not questioning Mayor Johnson’s right to be in Davos – his predecessor liked going too. The issue is whether any Mayor of London can devote sufficient time to fulfil all of the expectations on a police authority chair.)

I am sure it is only a matter of time before Kit Malthouse gets what he wants and is annointed by Mayor Johnson as the actual Police Authority Chair …..

The only excitement – and that is over-stated – was a discussion about stop and search. Jenny Jones told us about the Mayor of Southwark who was stopped by the police when they spotted her taking photographs outside what turned out to be her own home. For Jenny Jones this was an example of abuse of police powers. However, many people might find it reassuring if the police stopped somebody taking photographs of their home and asked them to account for themselves. Kit Malthouse then told us that he had twice been the subject of a police stop and search – for some reason his Conservative colleague, James Cleverly thought this had been an intelligence-led police operation.

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