Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Deputy Mayor for Policing

An extraordinary story splashed all over the "Evening Standard" tonight , that the Deputy Mayor for Policing Stephen Greenhalgh has been accused of sexual harassment of a Junior female City Hall employee in the lift .

My friends at City Hall , and I still have some, tell me the incident which apparently happened several weeks ago, allegedly involved Mr Greenhalgh , who since the abolition of the Metropolitan Police Authority is virtually a one man Police Authority for London , getting in the lift admiring the young lady's "arse ", and giving it a slap !

Mr Greenhalgh , a former Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council and the "Blue eyed boy" of Eric Pickles and Conservative Local Government has apologised for anything "that could be or may have been construed as inappropriate behaviour"

Frankly I cannot believe the reports of Greenhalgh's alleged behaviour to be true  , if the incident did happen then I suspect he will have even less of a Political career left than I have and will soon be joining Ann Widdecombe on the Panto Circuit ( Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at High Wycombe , tickets available at all prices ) . However when the chips are down you know who your friends are and in his few short months at City Hall Mr Greenhalgh has made few friends .

His first appearance before the London Assembly after he had been in office for all of three weeks was a total train crash after he decided he did not require the Commissioner of Police to sit next to him and assist with difficult answers. The consequential embarrassment when Greenhalgh had to admit he had not read the brief on the forthcoming Olympics amongst other things ,had Conservative Assembly squirming and became quite a hit on "You Tube" . Subsequent appearances have shown a little improvement .

However Greenhalgh apparently refuses to reply to correspondence from Members of the London Assembly claiming at a recent Conservative Group meeting that was not in his job description and there are severe rumblings from Borough Council leaders of all Parties over his lack of engagement about suggested Police Station closures. Many London Councillors , including me , are unable to equate the upbeat , positive messages on the strengths of Neighbourhood Policing that emerge from City Hall (and indeed Scotland Yard) with the day to day reality of constant "extractions" ( Officers being withdrawn for other duties) and lack of any Transport for Safer Neighbourhood Teams, essential in a huge ward such as Totteridge. The constant problem of burglary is not being dealt with effectively .

When the excellent Kit Malthouse had Greenhalgh's job not only did he put the hours in (rumours are Mr Greenhalgh's appearances in the lift or anywhere else at City Hall are" intermittent ") but he had a grasp of the detail and was always willing to speak to Assembly Members, Councillors, MPs and Conservative activists .

Stephen Greenhalgh may like Kit Malthouse be a "heavyweight", but only one of them is a Political heavyweight .

Just when we thought the Met was becoming settled under the excellent Commissioner Bernard Hogan - Howe ( where is the Knighthood ? ) it looks like a period of Political turmoil is ahead.


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