Priti Patel pulls rug from under Sadiq Khan with new rule to diminish London Mayor's power


The new law would make it more difficult for Mr Khan to fire or suspend any future police chief constables. The law would cover the potential dismissal of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner. This comes just a few days after Mr Khan forced Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick’s resignation, after making it clear he had no confidence in her plans to reform the force.

However, the rule change has been in the pipeline since before Dame Cressida’s resignation.

It is thought that her resignation may accelerate the changes.

The legal change would prevent police and crime commissioners (PCCs) – the role held by Mr Khan in London – from dismissing chief constables as a result of political or personal reasons.

Speaking about the changes, a government source said: “At the moment, the PCC can hire and fire at will.

“This is about getting a rigorous and transparent process so that police chiefs know they cannot just get sacked for political reasons.”

Mr Khan faced backlash from the Metropolitan Police Federation over Dame Cressida’s resignation, with the organisation saying it has “no faith” in his leadership.

The federation’s chairman, Ken Marsh, accused politicians of using “policing and the career of the country’s most senior police leader to deflect from their own failings.”

He added: “This is not a move we take lightly.

“We have let the Mayor’s office know in no uncertain terms how our brave and diligent colleagues deserve better.

READ MORE: Sadiq Khan hell as Met Police body declares no confidence in Mayor

But a spokesperson for Mr Khan said a change of leadership “was the only way to address this crisis in trust”.

They added: “The series of scandals seen in recent years has tarnished the reputation of the police, which is so crucial to policing by consent.

“Downplaying the scale of the change required is only going to hinder, not help, the vital process of restoring Londoners’ trust in the Met.”

The new law will amend section 38 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, preventing PCCs from hiring and firing at will if their relationship with the chief constable deteriorates.

It will force them to give written notice as the first stage of any dismissal process and will introduce a time limit on any suspension, alongside introducing an arbitration mechanism.

This is not the first time a mayor has faced controversy for the hiring and firing of a chief constable.

In 2020, Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham pushed Ian Hopkins to quit as chief constable of Greater Manchester Police.

At the time, Ms Patel accused the Labour mayor of having “thrown a senior police officer under the bus to save his own skin”.

Boris Johnson as Mayor of London also forced the resignation of Lord Blair of Boughton as Met Police commissioner in 2008.


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