Tough guy Hogan-Howe lays out his police tactics
Water cannon, knife arches, and city wide crackdowns in store as part of ‘total war’ on London crime
LONDONERS have been given a taste of what their new police chief has in store for the capital after he outlined his philosophy to the Evening Standard, and revealed that he wanted to "set a tone" of war on crime.
The former chief constable of Merseyside police, Bernard Hogan-Howe, was handed the role of Metropolitian Police Commissioner earlier this week.
He has already made his presence felt. After leaving a meeting with London mayor Boris Johnson, it emerged that Hogan-Howe spotted some suspected bike thieves and gave chase, eventually cornering them in a housing estate.
As for the future role of the police in London, he told the Standard: "I don't think we are here to be social workers, to run schools."
Here's what Londoners can look forward to:
• Water cannon. Their use was ruled out during last month's riots by acting Met chief Tim Godwin. But Hogan-Howe appears to have no qualms about the tactic. "Although water cannon seems to be aggressive, the alternative can be a police officer hitting someone round the head with a metal baton. Neither is attractive."
• Knife arches. During his time on Merseyside the police would set up 15 'knife arches' fitted with metal detectors in Liverpool city centre every weekend manned by officers with sniffer dogs. Hogan-Howe has also said he does not believe those caught with knives should be let off with a caution.
• War on gangs. In Liverpool his Total Policing approach, which had the backing of local sports stars, led to a huge fall in offending and antisocial behaviour. He has pledged to boost the Met's Operation Connect fight against gangs.
• A blitz on drink and drug related crime. "About 80 per cent of the people in our cells overnight will have a drink issue," says Hogan-Howe who is a fan of American attitudes towards convicted drink drivers. "Instead of trying to stop drunk drivers driving, why not stop the driver getting drunk. If you got convicted of a drink driving offence, twice a day you get tested for drinking," he says.
• Targeting of known criminals. He says random stop-and-search can create tensions within a community. But those with a criminal history should be targeted. "If you have stopped someone who has been convicted of carrying a knife, they are the people who we should be stopping subsequently, to see if they are still carrying a knife."
• Special operations. Hogan-Howe wants the entire force to target certain types of crime on two days a month. "One day it might be about bail hoppers, another day about drug warrants," he explains. "Instead of squeezing the problem from one place to the next right across London you can see an impact."
• Neutrality. Although he is clearly the kind of US-style zero-tolerance commissioner Boris Johnson was after Hogan-Howe declared: "I am not Conservative, Labour or Lib-Dem. What you can be confident about is that I will do my job without fear or favour." ·
Comments are now closed on this article