Contrary to what Sky's Martin Brunt thought when he said that Sir Ian Blair's resignation would cause a drop in morale throughout the Met, on the afternoon he announced he was leaving I've never seen so many people in the canteen talking about him with smiles on their faces. The next day a skipper I know said "it's great news isn't it, if the Met canteens had a laugh-o-meter in them, they would have blown up yesterday afternoon"
So now that the "PC PC" has finally gone, Sir Paul Stephenson is going to be the new Commissioner of the Metropolis. I've never met him and I probably never will, unless something goes horribly wrong somewhere, and the most I'll see of his new direction and 'leadership' will be a weekly podcast on the Intranet that I won't watch. We may get some policy directions that will be changed by countless levels of chinese whispers, so by the time they get to us they will do nothing but serve the needs of the borough Commander or the divisional Superintendent to make sure they get their year end bonus for meeting targets and budgets.
Sir Ian Blair set the direction of the Met as Commissioner but it was Sir Paul Stephenson who actually ran things from an operational perspective. Whilst I'm well aware that there are things Sir Ian wanted and everyone was required to do, here's a few things I am certain that we won't get in the immediate to near future -
(1) a doubling of the number of response officers actually deployable for every team, on every division and borough in the Met.
(2) a doubling of the number of response vehicles and vans (that actually work and don't break down all the bloody time) to accommodate the influx of officers back to response and the significant increase in prisoners that will result.
(3) the opportunity for response officers to actually proactively patrol and engage with the public because the vast majority of the bullshit calls we are sent to have been cancelled because we shouldn't even be going to them, or they are significantly downgraded to the level they should be in comparison to an actual emergency.
(5) someone with any substantial rank standing in front of the news cameras immediately after a substantial event to give the people the information that WE had at the time, even if we are being criticised by people (including family) who have no idea what actually happened.
(6) someone who will tell the Home office to get rid of the National Crime Recording Standards and to stop trying to micromanage how we work.
(7) the complete return of discretion, in line with the office of Constable, instead of directed policy.
(8) specific targeting and extreme harassment of each divisions top 50 criminals until they are locked away, move out of London, or kill themselves.
(9) the return of local knowledge to control rooms by basing them in divisions and alongside teams instead of in 3 remote bases staffed by people who rotate daily, haven't got a scooby which road is where, who is who, where our borders end or what specialist teams exist to deal with specific things. This won't mean much to anyone outside of the Met, but to those in, it will mean everything.
I'll be more than happy if I'm proved wrong on any of those points, but after yet another knackering nights weekend of mayhem, close calls and not enough people to deal with it, I'm a tad pessimistic that anything will change for the better.
Update - some quotes from the Boss -
“Ian Blair did it his way. I was a loyal deputy. Now I am going to do it my way”
“One of the key issues is keeping the communities on board to give us a mandate to go in there and use some pretty intrusive tactics to stop kids killing kids.”
"We have to be intolerant of violence, no matter where that violence comes from"
"It is my aim to be a top-class police leader of the biggest police force in the UK and one of the best in the world." Interesting he used the words Police force instead of Police service, it's not something Sir Ian Blair ever said, which is a good start.