Bernard Hogan-Howe LIVE

Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe is at a conference in London, and onthebeat101 is there to bring you the latest!

This was a live blog covering Met Commissioner’s Bernard Hogan-Howe talk in Central London on Wednesday 28th March at 4pm.

We’ll also have a video of the best bits of the talk up soon! Thanks for your participation and we’ll let you know when the video is up!

17.20pm That was the end of the talk, a warm round of applause from the audience, Mr Hogan-Howe has gone elsewhere… but not before a quick cuppa!

17.15pm The Commissioner said he’d rather the Met stayed unarmed – and 70% of officers would also prefer to stay unarmed according to frequent surveys of their force.

17.10pm Mr Hogan-Howe told us the police would certainly be prepared to use rubber bullets at protests but that it’s not the solution.

17.09pm The talk is winding up now…

17.05pm A question on dispersal zones, particularly around betting shops. The police have little power to control this as betting shops have a right to operate. Borough Commander says that covert listening devices are often used to detect other crime going on there and “pick them off” that way.

Licensing has become more liberal over last few years, which means that nowadays you don’t have to work out whether an area needs a betting shop, you can just set one up

17.03pm The Commissioner says its hard to say whether the British Crime Survey and Crime Maps are useful to change public perception of crime. Mr Hogan-Howe says he worries about confidence data, because confidence can be affected by the crown prosecution service, the courts and other services

16.59pm Best evidence that PCSOs are worthwhile is that when you try to take one away, the community complain. “The community want them”.

PCSOs should be proud of what they do, because they walk, he says. If you’re on the beat and see an incident, then you have to attend, can’t just drive past in a car.

PCSOs are often more mature, not in the “flush of youth” he says, but that makes them more valuable.

We should do more to promote them, he admits.

16.57pm Mr Hogan-Howe says that the gap in the time between when the PCSOs move into the police force and the time it takes to hire and train new PCSOs will be painful – but will have to get through it!

The Commissioner wants more graduates in the police. He even asked if there were graduates in the room who wanted to apply!

16.55pm Question on tackling terrorism – the problem is that today many terrorists don’t mind dying in the process of killing others and this makes security forces job harder.

16.50pm Islington Chief Superintendent says they have some amazing community support officers, who learn how to operate within the community without powers, he says they will become the police officers of tomorrow, really good at communicating with the public and people from all different parts of society.

16.47pm Hogan-Howe wouldn’t give PCSOs more powers – because generally PCSOs walk around, they try to keep them in one place so they can build good relationships with members of the community. PCSOs are a more diverse group than police officers – there are more from ethnic backgrounds, more women and therefore more representative of London.

Mr Hogan Howe says giving them more powers would mean they spend less time on the street, where they need to be and  that they should be able to work without the need to do all the work in the office that police officers do.

He says that otherwise there is a danger that the police won’t have vital link with the community, schools, officials which are integral to policing.

Can’t make police officers redundant, number of police officers dropped this year, but will be back up over next 3 weeks. The Met got £9 million thanks to the Olympics, so can employ more officers.

16.42pm Often people come to the police to resolve civil disputes, where the police can only resolve criminal issues. But there are problems with inexperienced officers occasionally dealing incorrectly with complicated issues because they lack time.

16.35pm On drugs and legal highs – Mr Hogan-Howe says “there’s no great joy in banning more things”. According to him, the Met hasn’t pushed to ban increasing numbers of drugs, as otherwise you’ll “drive yourself crackers”, but is concerned about health issues relating to drug and legal high usage.

16.31pm Reporting of domestic violence has improved but there is still a lot of room for improvement… Perceptions that police won’t take you seriously if you’re a man reporting domestic violence need to be changed.

Audience member is suggesting more LBGT officers making themselves known in the LBGT community.

It seems as though Mr Hogan-Howe is genuinely listening to the audience’s questions and taking a real interest. Positive vibe in the room here

16.26pm Private security companies will be used to police the Olympics – some 25,000 personnel, mostly inside venues, making sure entrants “aren’t terrorists”. Mr Hogan-Howe says it has been a challenge to get all these personnel.

Questions over accreditation of security staff proving difficult for Mr Hogan-Howe… The Chairlady has stepped in to help out – apparently many are accredited by local police.

16.20pm Answering a question now about right to protest during the Olympics – it shouldn’t be any different then. Protests are larger in the capital, so a cap on numbers is more useful here. Nobody wants the Olympics to fail! Protesting doesn’t give people the right to break the law he says. Hurting people and damaging property just isn’t acceptable!

16.16pm The Commissioner answering a question about licensing – it’s a right, not a privilege – says the Met has been tackling alcohol licensing, uninsured vehicles recently. Establishing control early is important as it means people don’t break the rules later.

16.12pm The Commissioner likes several London boroughs to tackle the same crimes over the same days so crime doesn’t get diverted to other areas

16.11pm Mr Hogan-Howe believes that the resources available in London can mean that policing can be really top notch. But can only detect 1 in 3 crimes. Low detectability is a problem – but victims of such crimes still need good care. Hint that multi-ethnic London is a challenge

16.07pm Mr Hogan-Howe has brought a team of 4 with him – Chief Superintendent from Islington is here, he has about 1,000 officers under his control. Today Mr Hogan-Howe is visiting 3 London boroughs in 1 day and he says is keen to meet the public rather than the officers. The public want to talk both about policy, but more often than not about what’s happening on their street and specific problems! Wants to hear about problems being encountered on the ground.

16.03pm We’re off Mr Hogan-Howe has started talking… short intro about London and the Met

15.59pm Hogan-Howe enters the room – big buzz!

15.58pm Just a couple of minutes to go until the talk kicks off – but Mr Hogan-Howe isn’t here yet…

15.47pm Onthebeat101 team is setting up the cameras and mikes in the room – police officers and organisers are here putting up posters. Very exciting.
You can still tweet us your questions to @onthebeat101 or email them to onthebeat101@gmail.com and on #hoganhowe

The Met Commissioner and his team have a break after speaking to us

Don’t forget you can watch our video of the best bits of the talk here!

And let us know what you think about what Mr Hogan-Howe said by commenting below.

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