Examination of Witnesses (Questions 120
TUESDAY 11 MARCH 2008
Q120 David Davies: It is probably
appropriate, then, to make my declaration as a special constable
who has done a lot of Section 44 searches. I presume what you
are referring to are Section 44(2)s rather than Section 60 or
Section 1 case searches. Is that a fair comment?
Mr Paddick: Section 44 --
Q121 David Davies: That you say has
Mr Paddick: Section 44, yes.
Q122 David Davies: I am puzzled by
it, genuinely, because the instructions that are given out to
all police officers are that you must never, ever target people
based on their ethnicity. It might be reasonable to look at rucksacks
but that must never ever be done, and a Section 44 is meant to
be a random search, not a targeted one. What you are saying, and
I do not dispute it but I just want to be clear, is that Section
44s are being used to target one particular community, and you
are saying the figures backed up that analysis?
Mr Paddick: The latest figures
for London are that you are twice as likely to be stopped and
searched if you are Asian and four times more likely to be stopped
and searched if you are Black. I cannot see any other conclusion
to be drawn from that other than some police officers are racially
Q123 David Davies: In order to make
a Stop and Search a less blunt instrument, you are obviously aware
that if somebody is stopped for a minor offence, a revenue offence,
for example, and are being dealt with by process, that in itself
does not constitute grounds for a search even if they have warning
signals. Would you not think there might be a case for changing
the law so that somebody who has warning signals, recent convictions
carrying knives or drugs, could be given a quick pat-down type
search if they are stopped and they admit an offence that is being
dealt with by a process that is not arrestable?
Mr Paddick: There are two alternatives
at the moment. Stop and Account, the issue raised by the Lawrence
Inquiry report, and Stop and Search. I think Stop and Search should
only be conducted if there is reasonable cause to suspect that
the person has something on them at that time. Surely, if somebody
is recognised as having a long record of street robbery, they
are in an area of high street robbery loitering by a bus stop,
then it is appropriate for the police officer to go up and ask
them in detail to account for why they are there, what they are
doing and so forth, but unless there has been a recent report
of a robbery where that person fits a description, or there is
some sign of something bulky being carried by them, there is some
evidence they might have something on them, then it should not
go through to a search.
Q124 Gwyn Prosser: Mr Paddick, you
have been very critical about the health and safety legislation
and the way it is applicable to the police. Was that your view
when you were a serving police officer and did you make representations
about it, and do you want to see that legislation abandoned altogether
in respect of the police force, or do you want to see a more general
interpretation of the law?
Mr Paddick: What we need is a
common sense approach to the issue, and we had this ridiculous
situation whilst I was in the police where we were commending
officers for their bravery in circumstances in which the Health
and Safety Executive would carry out a prosecution if they knew
about the particular case.
Q125 Gwyn Prosser: How many prosecutions
Mr Paddick: The law only changed
reasonably recently and there was a high profile prosecution,
one in particular was of the two previous Commissioners in the
Metropolitan Police. I think maybe the Health and Safety Executive
have learned from that experience, bearing in mind that the people
were acquitted. Yes, the police have to take reasonable precautions
in order to protect their staff but they must allow individual
operational officers to use their common sense, to judge whether
their actions could possibly save a life, for example, and in
those circumstances if they wish to take more of a risk, put themselves
at risk in order to save a life, then they should be allowed to
do that, and that should not result in prosecution of senior officers.
Q126 Mr Streeter: Mr Paddick, I understand
you have put forward crime reduction targets of 5% per annum for
the first four years and if you do not hit them you will not stand
again as Mayor, so that is 20% over the next four years. Some
commentators have suggested this is not really very credible.
Do you honestly think those targets are realistic?
Mr Paddick: They are far more
realistic than the current Mayor, Ken Livingstone, who at this
time in the election process last time round said he would deliver
50% reduction in crime over the next four years and, as we know,
even if we take the rather dubious police recorded crime statistics
into account, it is only 17% and not 50%. I think a 5% per year
reduction in British crime survey crimeand what we are
talking about here is people's experience of crime, not an opinion
poll; it is a scientific survey of 2500 Londoners carried out
every year, and is seen by most academics to be the most reliable
measure of crime over timeis realistic.
Q127 Ms Buck: Following that up,
you earlier talked about perverse and unintended consequences
of targets. If you are setting a 20% overall target, is there
not a real risk then that you and the staff for whom you are responsible
will aim to achieve that numerical target without necessarily
focusing on priorities for Londoners, and how would you avoid
Mr Paddick: Because the British
Crime Survey is actually a survey of Londoners where they ask
people: "Have you been a victim of crime over the last 12
months?", it provides an incentive for the police to concentrate
on those offences that are most affecting Londoners.
Q128 Ms Buck: Numerically?
Mr Paddick: So it is the only
target that it is realistic to set. The fact is, if the public
have more confidence in the police, which we hope to achieve,
you could see recorded crime going up because you will not have
the situation we have at the moment where a significant number
of Londoners do not report crime to the police because they do
not think the police will take it seriously, or they do not think
it is worth it, or a lot of people in deprived areas, for example,
do not have insurance so there is no point in getting a crime
number in order to support their insurance claim. So British Crime
Survey reduction is the only measure, and in fact it was one adopted
by governments some years ago. When the recorded crime figures
were going up they decided to base police crime reduction targets
on British Crime Survey crime, but of course now we are in a situation
where police recorded crime is going down Government has abandoned
the British Crime Survey in favour of recorded crime.
Q129 Ms Buck: I still wonder if that
has not missed the point because it is still a global numerical
target that does not allow you the flexibility then to focus on
what might be the priority concerns rather than just chasing numbers.
But let me ask you one other question. You propose to chair the
Metropolitan Police Authority. What would be the advantage of
that for Londoners?
Mr Paddick: Unlike the Mayor who
claimed that 50% of the Police Authority were Assembly members,
a third are Assembly members, a third magistrates and a third
independent elected members. The advantage is I know the inside
track. With the best will in the world, with fewer members of
the Metropolitan Police Authority than you have boroughs in London,
they do not know and they cannot examine in detail the way the
police are functioning. I know exactly how the police functions:
I know exactly the methods to present the best gloss on things,
and I will not be misled in the way that the Metropolitan Police
Authority has from time to time been misled.
Q130 Mrs Dean: Do you agree with
Mr Johnson that neighbourhood crime mapping should be published?
Mr Paddick: At the moment whatever
borough you live in in London it is possible for you, either interactively
or by going to the monthly police community consultative group
meeting, to find out exactly what the crime levels are in your
particular borough. I think if you go down to, if it is published
globally, what the crime figures are, say, on a ward basis, there
is the danger of stigmatising particular areas of London, both
in terms of creating ghettoes where only the poorest people would
choose to live if it is shown to be a crime hotspot, and, as we
know, the poor are disproportionately victims of crime, and in
terms of house prices and so forth. There are lots of downsides
to it. In fact, neighbourhood watch groups who currently exist
publish to their members what crimes have been taking place locally
in order that people can take necessary precautions and keep their
eyes open. I do not think publishing that data so that the Evening
Standard can pick it up and publish a map with different shades
of red on it is going to be advantageous to anybody.
Q131 David Davies: The British Crime
Survey does not include crimes involving children or property,
does it, and it has been recently criticised for this by the Chief
Constable of British Transport Police. How can you say that it
is more valid than an opinion poll?
Mr Paddick: What Ian Johnson said
was that it was not a comprehensive measure of crime but it is
a good surrogate for crime levels generally, and the most accurate
measure of crime over time. It does include property crime but
not crime against people under the age of 16.
Q132 David Davies: Shoplifting?
Mr Paddick: Shoplifting is a type
of property crime that is not included. It is about the crimes
that affect residents rather than businesses.
Chairman: Mr Paddick, thank you for giving
evidence to us today; it has been very helpful.