Headlines: December 3rd, 1998

There’s been a reassurance from the Government that community groups will have a loud voice in the new arrangements for overseeing London’s police force.Until now, London has been unlike the rest of Britain, in having no police authority largely drawn from elected councillors, though the capital does have several strong policy community consultative groups.

Home Office Minister Kate Hoey says relationships between the police and community groups will not be eroded when the new Police Authority for London is up and running.

Ms Hoey said: “The creation of the Metropolitan Police Authority, with a majority of elected members, is aimed at improving the democratic accountability of policing in London.

“The Government will ensure the new police authority for the Met has the same obligations as those placed on police authorities outside London, that means proper arrangements in place for consulting the public about policing priorities.”

Ms Hoey was speaking at a conference in Islington aiming to identify the best means of consultation between the community and the police when the Metropolitan Police Authority starts.

The Metropolitan Police Authority will come into effect from April 2000.

The role of consultative groups is set out under Section 96 of the Police Act 1996. This includes obtaining the views of local people about issues in their area and securing their co-operation in preventing crime. There are currently 41 such groups in London.