City Hall asked if Sadiq Khan is ‘considering position’ over Met Police being placed into ‘special measures’

“Do you or the mayor think you should consider your position? You are the ones overseeing what they are supposed to be doing and this is a damning report.”

A top City Hall figure has been asked if the mayor of London Sadiq Khan “should consider his position” after the Met Police was placed into special measures.

Sophie Linden, Mr Khan’s deputy mayor for policing, has been grilled on the shock news that the capital’s police force has been placed into a watchdog process known as Engage.

It follows months of scandal for the embattled force, which saw Mr Khan lose confidence in the leadership of commissioner Dame Cressida Dick earlier this year.

A string of crises has dogged the Met, from the murder of Sarah Everard at the hands of serving armed cop Wayne Couzens and a grim report into vile racist and misogynistic texts sent by officers at Charing Cross police station; to outrage over the strip searches of black children sparked by the treatement of 15-year-old Child Q, and ongoing concerns into homophobic attitudes surrounding the investigation into serial Grindr killer Stephen Port.

Sadiq Khan, right, with ex Met Police chief Dame Cressida Dick, who quit after the mayor said he no longer had confidence in her following a string of scandals. Credit: VICTORIA JONES/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Speaking at a meeting of City Hall’s policing committee this morning, Wednesday, July 6, Ms Linden, who leads the mayor’s office for policing and crime (MOPAC), told the assembly she and the mayor were “disappointed but not surprised by the news”.

The Q&A session is the first opportunity for assembly members - who are elected to hold the mayor to account - to grill the force after it was placed into special measures by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS).

Chairman Susan Hall, who leads the City Hall Conservative group, asked Ms Linden: “The Met has never, ever been put into special measures before.

“Do you or the mayor think you should consider your position? You are the ones overseeing what they are supposed to be doing and this is a damning report."

And she added: “I hear the mayor saying that he welcomes the report and everything else. Are you not somewhat embarrassed about the report? You’re the ones responsible for overseeing the Met - it’s in your job description.

“Are you not embarrassed that you’re in this position?”

Susan Hall, City Hall Conservative group leader and chairman of the policing committee. Photo: London Assembly

But Ms Linden defended her own and Mr Khan’s work with the Met.

“As I’ve said I welcome the report,” she said.

“Of course I’m disappointed the Met Police is in this position. I’m disappointed on behalf of Londoners because they’re not getting the service and the Met Police they deserve.

“To go back to your previous question about the analogy with the headteacher, one of the things that I would say, if Ofsted came into a school or the HMIC came as they do, as they have, into a force and they came into the Met Police.

“If what they put in their report and their findings were a complete surprise, that’s where I would be incredibly worried and that is where I would be thinking, ‘what has happened?’.

“We have already had significant oversight and challenge within most if not all of the issues in the report and that for me shows the oversight we have been putting in and the scrutiny has been in the right places.

“What we need is better action and quicker improvements from the Met Police.”

Deputy mayor of policing Sophie Linden. Photo: London Assembly

She added: “This report very clearly sets out the issues and the challenges that MOPAC has already had oversight of.

“I welcome the Met being put into the Engage process because not only does it come with challenge but it comes with support. We’ll find out next week exactly what support it will be.

“The Met Police does have significant challenges… it’s got to the point where the force needs to go into Engage.

“There are six forces in the Engage process. That is one in seven of the forces in England and Wales.

“This is not just an issue for the Met.”

The HMICFRS has confirmed that Cleveland Police, in Teesside, Gloucestershire Police, Greater Manchester Police, Staffordshire Police, and Wiltshire Police have all been placed into the Engage process - alongside the Met.

But Ms Hall hit back: “If we can just concentrate as you’re supposed to on the Met Police.”

She added: "I’m surprised you’re not mortified, I certainly would be if I was overseeing something.

“It’s like saying to a headteacher who has had an Ofsted report, ‘you’re as low as you can be, it’s really bad’ and for that headteacher to be saying ‘oh that’s great, I welcome that’.

“You should be mortified - it’s your job to be overseeing this.”

She suggested the mayor " got scared, if you like and then thinks he should act" after various high profile issues emerged, and asked: “If all of these things were going on, why on earth did you ask for Cressida Dick’s contract to be renewed?"

But Ms Linden insisted: "The mayor has been really clear for a long time on the need for change... for the Met to put right these bread and butter issues.

“This is not just about one person. It is also about the ability to bring in a reforming commissioner."

And Louisa Rolfe, assistant commissioner for operations at the Met Police, says: "Of course we’re disappointed and we want to be much better at this but we must be positive about the opportunity to take this forward and improve and recognise this is a cumulative process.

"We are not complacent."