To be published as HC 1775-i




Home Affairs Committee

Counter Terrorism Update

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick QPM

Evidence heard in Public Questions 1 - 61



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Oral Evidence

Taken before the Home Affairs Committee

on Tuesday 24 January 2012

Members present:

Keith Vaz (Chair)

Nicola Blackwood

Lorraine Fullbrook

Dr Julian Huppert

Steve McCabe

Alun Michael

Mark Reckless

Mr David Winnick


Examination of Witness

Witness: Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick QPM, Specialist Crime Directorate, Metropolitan Police, gave evidence.

Q1 Chair: Assistant Commissioner, thank you for coming in for us. I was going to say every time you appear before this Committee you have been promoted. Temporarily you were promoted, but just before your appearance you have been demoted-not officially but because you are no longer acting up as the Deputy Commissioner. Is that right?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: That is correct, Chair. Yesterday, Craig Mackey arrived in the Met as the substantive Deputy Commissioner, so now I revert to Assistant Commissioner, Specialist Operations.

Q2 Chair: For the convenience of the Committee, just outline, albeit not in huge detail, your main areas so that we know exactly what you are doing.

Assistant Commissioner Dick: Within the Metropolitan Police, I am responsible for security, protection and counter-terrorism. I am also chair of what we call ACPO TAM-the Association of Chief Police Officers’ Terrorism and Allied Matters committee-which means that I co-ordinate police CT activities across the country also.

Q3 Chair: We will be coming on to questions such as the Olympics and other matters of that kind, but perhaps I can start by asking you about the issue of counter-terrorism. We had before us only last week Keith Bristow, the new head of the National Crime Agency, which of course is not a complete organisation because it has not been officially vested yet and the legislation has not come before Parliament. At some stage in the future, the Government are going to decide about the future of counter-terrorism. Where is it going to go? Is it going to stay in the Met, or is it going to go outside the Met? What are your current thoughts about this?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: We need to stay open-minded. As you will be very well aware, the Home Secretary has stated-I think most people would agree-that the current counter-terrorism policing structures have worked very effectively, and we can evidence that through a great deal of operational success and also how we are viewed around the world. The Home Secretary has also said there will not be any review of those arrangements until after the Olympics, so I and my people, operationally, are very much focused on delivering a safe country and a safe Olympics during 2012. But clearly, after the Olympics, there will be discussions about what is the appropriate way, given where we then are, to keep the public safe from threat from terrorism, and there are a number of different possibilities at that stage.

Q4 Chair: Looking from the outside at the National Crime Agency-this brand new body; flagship of the Government’s new landscape of policing-do you think there are bits missing that ought to be in there that are not in there? We know that CEOP is in there and the Committee thinks this is a good idea-we will look at CEOP in a couple of years’ time-but are there any obvious things that ought to be there, leaving counter-terrorism aside of course?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: Yes. I don’t see anything else, from my understanding of where the programme has got to, that should be there. No, I am quite content with the way it appears to be shaping up.

Q5 Chair: As far as international co-operation on counter-terrorism is concerned, who would be our closest allies in dealing with counter-terrorism? Is it still the Americans?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: In CT policing, we have liaison officers across the world but our primary work, through to the international structures, is through the Security Service, and we have a wide range of countries that we work very closely with, literally on a daily basis. Our investigations and our learning come from a huge number of different areas.

Q6 Chair: As far as Europol and Interpol are concerned, what are your dealings with those organisations? One of the issues that had been raised in counter-terrorism policy is that different countries do different things, and that the more things that can be co-ordinated the better, with more information shared. What kind of relationship do you have as the head of counter-terrorism with Europol?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: I have met the Head of Europol on a number of occasions. I know him well through organised crime work. My people and his people meet at various committees and talk about how we can work better across Europe, and likewise with Interpol, and we are talking of course about what support they can give us during the Olympic Games.

Q7 Chair: Those are the two pan-European organisations or international organisations that you deal with, Interpol and Europol? There are no others? Do you have any relationship with SECI?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: No, not that I am aware of.

Q8 Chair: Finally from me, you were on the steps of the court when the verdict on the Stephen Lawrence case came through, and you made some very powerful and profound statements about the Lawrence case and the Metropolitan Police. Do you regard that whole situation as now over-a very sorry period in the history of the Metropolitan Police-and do you think lots of lessons have been learned as a result of the Macpherson report?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: I think that a huge number of lessons have been learned. You may be aware that I was the ACPO officer responsible for the re-investigation into Stephen’s death since 2001-

Chair: I am aware and we are very grateful for all the work that you have done.

Assistant Commissioner Dick: -and also with some of the learning that has come from that. I think the Met, and indeed UK and to some extent international policing, has been transformed literally-I don’t say that lightly-by the learning that we have had from the public inquiry. I think that it is not all totally embedded-there is still further to go-and of course, in relation to the investigation into Stephen’s death, I am acutely aware that we have brought two people to justice, but our understanding is that five or possibly six people were involved in that murder, so it is not the end, no.

Q9 Chair: Are you in charge of that investigation now or has it been handed-

Assistant Commissioner Dick: Yes.

Chair: You are still in charge of it?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: At the moment I remain in charge, yes.

Q10 Chair: Would you describe it as active? I noticed also that the mother and father of Stephen Lawrence said that although this was a good verdict, there were more people to apprehend. Is it ongoing-is it live; is it active?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: We entered the court case with no active lines of inquiry. As you would expect, we had exhausted our lines of enquiry at that stage. We received a small number of calls during the court case and a small number after the court case. We need to establish where, if anywhere, those would lead us and then, like other cases that are in essence partially convicted but unsolved, we need to go through a review process and to see what else, if anything, we can do. But I think, as the Commissioner has said, I would not want to be hasty about that. The success of the last investigation obviously built on everything that had gone before, and in particular the work of the Lawrences was painstaking and took some time, and I think we should not be hasty.

Q11 Chair: But you are absolutely clear that, if this happened again, the reaction of the Metropolitan Police and individual officers and senior officers would be completely different to what happened all those years ago?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: Yes.

Q12 Chair: Were you serving as an officer in the Met when he was murdered?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: In early 1993, yes, I was. I was just about to go on central service but, yes, I was. I am quite convinced, to come to your question, it would be utterly and completely different in a whole variety of ways.

Chair: Thank you.

Q13 Steve McCabe: Could I just go back to counter-terrorism for a moment. You said you have an open mind about where it should end up, but I wondered if you could say a bit more about the benefits or disadvantages of it remaining where it is, or eventually ending up with the National Crime Agency. I am thinking particularly about the amount of resource that it takes. It is clearly in budget terms-resource terms-a very intensive and important area of work, and I wondered if you could give us some idea about the things that the open mind is contemplating at the moment.

Assistant Commissioner Dick: Certainly. First, I think there may have been some misunderstanding in the past about how it currently works. It would be wrong to say that counter-terrorism sits with the Met, which is one of the things I have heard said. Essentially, ACPO TAM, which I have mentioned before, has the lead for policy and strategy, and we have a distributed model across the police forces. As an example, my colleagues-the Chief Constables in West Midlands and West Yorkshire and so forth-have responsibility for some national units, and that is sort of distributed. ACPO TAM has responsibility for policy and strategy and, de facto, whenever there is a national incident, the lead is then taken by the senior national co-ordinator, who sits in the Met and is my deputy.

So it is quite a complicated model, but it does work and it has been improved continuously over the past few years. It allows national co-ordination and gives legitimacy to the role of the senior national co-ordinator among the Chief Constables. I think it is quite powerful in terms of its ability to engage locally with communities through neighbourhood teams, Prevent teams and so forth. I think that in itself-the fact that the Chief Constables come together and agree how things will be and, on occasions, cede their operational independence in order to allow the greater good-builds trust and confidence. It allows an ability to surge, and I could mention a variety of operations, including in the last couple of years, where we have overnight brought in resources from across policing, and not just purely counter-terrorism resources, but forensics or other investigators. That happens very smoothly and easily nowadays because of the network that we have built.

It links-I know the Committee has looked at this before-the very local with the global, we say in a very effective way, and it is built on highly-trusted partnerships, which really are the envy of the world. I meet most weeks with people from other countries and they are astonished at the collaborative working that takes place across police forces through the network, and also between the police services, the Security Service and the other agencies-and of course the Home Office and other Government Departments. I think it is a powerful model and, as I say, some of it at least is very much the envy of others. I am not complacent about that, and one of my aims is to improve that in the coming months.

Q14 Steve McCabe: I am grateful for that. I noticed though that when former Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke was giving evidence on the background to the telephone hacking inquiry, he said that one of the reasons why he did not devote quite as much energy and resource to it was because he was dealing with 70 terrorist threats at the time. That would kind of suggest that the resource and the energy gets diverted into that. That is why I am asking about where it is best located, because I am quite worried that wherever it goes it may suck the resource and energy out of other activities.

Assistant Commissioner Dick: Yes. I saw Peter’s comments and I understood them entirely. That was quite an extraordinary time for policing nationally, of course. I think the counter-argument to that is that it gives us some resilience and visibility. If we say, for example, counter-terrorism is to move into the NCA, there would be a question: "What do you mean? Do you mean the officer I saw on the way in here providing security with a firearm, do you mean the Prevent officer, or do you just mean the investigators?" As I say, the fact that we have counter-terrorism within police services allows us to develop some very good techniques in forensics, technology and investigation, which we can then use in times of crisis back the other way to support wider policing, such as in the way we did in the summer disorders. We have a threat to this country and successive Governments have invested in counter-terrorism capability to a huge extent across not just policing, but agencies. Do I think that it has an adverse impact on police services in that way? I personally don’t, no, but I am open-minded and I am happy to debate that.

Steve McCabe: Okay, thank you.

Q15 Alun Michael: You referred to a number of things there: capability, techniques, network, resilience and the benefits of a dispersed system. Can you explain to us the nature of accountability in that arrangement? You said that the person who is the fulcrum, if you like, is within the ACPO system. I can’t remember what name you used-ACPO’s way of describing things is a total mystery to me-but is your deputy in that regard responsible to you? Is your deputy in that regard responsible then upwards into the Met and to the Mayor or, in that context, is your deputy accountable through you as an ACPO representative into the ACPO hierarchy?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: It is complicated, and I frankly think that any system you wanted to design based on the 43 forces would be so. Certainly he is on a day-to-day basis accountable to me as his line manager and up through the Met.

Alun Michael: Yes, but as an ACPO line manager or a Met line manager?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: Both, in fact. I suppose I could characterise it another way by saying that if there is a local counter-terrorism operation taking place in, let’s say, Devon and Cornwall, Devon and Cornwall will get all the support that the network can bring in that it needs to have. However, at the end of the day, of course, that counter-terrorism operation remains, unless we designate it as a national or cross-border one that needs some other arrangement, the responsibility of the local Chief Constable. So we go to help him, and he is accountable in the normal way.

Q16 Alun Michael: So in that event, your deputy becomes accountable to the Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall, and through him currently to the police authority?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: The officers running the operation are responsible to the local Chief Constable. My deputy will provide assistance.

Alun Michael: It does not seem terribly clear in terms of accountability.

Assistant Commissioner Dick: I would agree it is complex, but I also think that as soon as you start-and of course I have started-to work through other models, you are always going to end up with quite a complex accountability structure. One thing to say is that we have a board in ACPO TAM of the Counter-Terrorism Unit. Chief Constables sit with me and decide on behalf of the rest on policy changes. We obviously consult with them on occasion. We also meet regularly with our police authorities, and in the future of course there will be a different arrangement for that.

Q17 Nicola Blackwood: Could I ask a little bit about the changes to control systems, and how, under the new TPIM Act of 2011, the ability of the Met to counter terrorism will be affected?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: I think I should say that our approach to counter-terrorism policing will remain the same, so that is working really closely with our partners within police forces and with the Security Service and others. Our job is to manage the risk of individuals and networks as and when they are posed, and we do that together through effective tasking and co-ordinating. We are focused all the time on public safety-that is our primary thing and always will be. Secondly, we want, where we possibly can, to bring people to justice and we will do that wherever we can. Underneath that, we also have to maintain the confidence of our communities for a variety of reasons that you will understand. There are differences in the legislation, of course, but we are confident in our ability to manage the risks in the way that I have described.

Q18 Nicola Blackwood: What would you say has been the impact on you as a police force operationally?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: First, we worked very closely with the Home Office and others over the past 18 months-I say that, I am guessing; some of it was before my time, of course-to look at the measures and to look at what would be required to ensure that we collectively could manage that risk. As you are aware, we have some extra resources and we are using those intelligently to ensure that we do manage the risk. Potentially operationally there could be some opportunities provided by the fact that there is some sort of loosening in some senses of the restrictions on individuals. That could provide us-and we don’t know; it is too early to say-with some investigative opportunities, and of course we want to bring people to justice wherever we can, so that may be a change. But it is too early for me to say; it is certainly what we will be seeking.

Q19 Nicola Blackwood: Have you noticed any difference in community engagement coming out of this yet?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: I think it is very early stages for us. You will be aware that we are currently in the transition period, and I have not seen anything as a result of that operational period. We will all be aware of the debates that there were before and we would be hopeful that people will see these as more positive measures, as long as we collectively manage the risk that might surround that.

Q20 Nicola Blackwood: At what point do you think you are going to be able to make a proper assessment of how these changes have impacted on counter-terrorism policing? You are in the transition period. When does the transition period end?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: Tomorrow.

Q21 Nicola Blackwood: Tomorrow? Very timely. At what point do you think you will be in a position to make a clear assessment of the impacts and of whether you need to go back and say, "This bit is causing us problems," or, "This is working fantastically," and sort of be trumpeting it?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: We have a very regular review process, as you would imagine. Literally on a weekly basis, we are looking at all our cases and we do that collectively. We do that closely with the Home Office and others. We will have the independent reviewer, David Anderson, coming and looking at exactly how we are doing it and how that is going and commenting as well, and we will be doing a more formal review on a three, six, nine-month basis. I do think it is quite hard for me to say precisely when I will be say kind of, "It is all bedded in, we can see exactly how this is working," partly because, of course, we don’t know how the threat might change in the future. But we are very happy to be held to account on this, and we are looking on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis to ensure that we are assessing what is happening.

Q22 Mark Reckless: Under what circumstances would you foresee a requirement to use the enhanced TPIM measures?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: I think all of us who work in this world regard this as very exceptional. It would be in extremis only, in the event of a very serious terrorist threat that literally could not be managed by any other means, so perhaps, although I am thinking hypothetically here, credible reporting pointing to a series of concurrent attack plots-God forbid, we hope we never get there-all of which appear imminent, perhaps in the wake of a major terrorist attack. But it is not something that we are anticipating we are likely to use, except in very extreme circumstances.

Q23 Mark Reckless: Do you think that were the police to feel that it was necessary to implement those measures, Parliament has given you sufficient flexibility to bring them into force as quickly as necessary from your operational perspective?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: It is very much a joint approach, and in fact, as you are aware, the case for all TPIMs would be put by the Security Service and not by the police. Of course, we talk to them all the time and work with them all the time, so I would be surprised if we had a different view on the position, but it is absolutely their responsibility to work this through with the Home Secretary. I think it is something that is completely untested and I hope it remains so. It is hard to know how it will work.

Q24 Lorraine Fullbrook: I would like to ask about the 14 days’ pre-charge detention and whether that has had an effect on your investigations into terrorist activities.

Assistant Commissioner Dick: You will be aware that, historically, I think I am right in saying, there is only one investigation that has been more than 14 days, which was the Overt-a truly enormous plot. We have latterly been faced with smaller networks, and indeed the majority of our work has been quite small numbers and sometimes single numbers of people, so we have not been faced with anything of quite that scale. That said, I think we have worked closely with the CPS and others to try to ensure that we would have the most effective reviewing going on throughout a custody process in a large-scale case and that we would be in the best possible position to try to use all the technology and all our best efforts to come to a decision about charge or otherwise during the 14 days, and there may be some things that we will just have to do slightly differently.

Q25 Lorraine Fullbrook: But the Government introduced two draft bills in February last year that would, under urgent circumstances, give you longer. In general, you are saying it has not affected your activities and investigations?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: So far, yes.

Q26 Lorraine Fullbrook: But you would obviously have the ability to ask for longer in urgent situations.

Assistant Commissioner Dick: Potentially, yes, in urgent circumstances. But we do have, as in every other case, a huge onus on us to process everything as quickly as we can. You will understand the challenges that there can be with vast quantities of digital material and other things. Again, it is a measure that I would not want to consider using unless we absolutely had to.

Q27 Lorraine Fullbrook: Have you had any cases where you feel that you have not done the correct amount of work within that 14 days?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: No.

Lorraine Fullbrook: Thank you.

Q28 Steve McCabe: Just quickly on that, during previous debates about extending pre-charge detention, we were told regularly from sources in the Met about the hours taken to translate videos, the problems of accessing password-protected computers and the problems of interpreters with witnesses who would not speak. Have all those problems gone away, or have you just got better at dealing with them?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: My answer was to the question of whether we had had that problem, and we have not, although that may be partly to do with the type of investigations that we have been doing. I think it is also to do with the way we are approaching the cases and to some extent some of our improved technologies. I can’t rule out that we might come up towards that 14-day deadline, but all I can say is we have not done recently.

Q29 Dr Huppert: Obviously, the Olympic Games provide some particularly interesting issues, and there is a balance to strike on the counter-terrorism work. We all want to see any problems prevented, but equally not going too far and constraining what people can do. How satisfied are you with the preparations and particularly the balance that you have struck?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: I am satisfied. I had quite a lot of involvement with the counter-terrorism preparation for the Olympics between 2007 and 2009 in my previous role, and then involvement with Olympic security generally in my other role before I came into this one, which was relatively recently, as you know. We have a strategy for counter-terrorism and domestic extremism for the whole of 2012 nationally, which includes of course the Olympics. That strategy is totally integrated with the Home Office strategy and we have a concept of operations that sits below that. We have done some very detailed planning over the past few months on the counter-terrorism side. We have done a great deal of peer reviewing. We have tried to learn from Olympic Games all round the world-and not just Olympic Games, but other large-scale events-and from colleagues around the world. We are currently in a process where I am having all those plans assured so, again, external people are coming in and having a really good look at those, and we have also started our testing and exercising phase, for which we have a very comprehensive programme. I think it is robust and I am not remotely complacent.

You will obviously be aware of the threat-currently it is "substantial" for the UK-and also historically the attacks that there have been on Olympic Games. London is an attractive target in some respects, albeit we believe it is very well defended and will obviously be even more so during the Olympic Games. So I am pleased with the progress we have made. There is a lot more work to do. I am not complacent.

Q30 Dr Huppert: You give us much assurance about the robustness of what you are talking about. You have not quite talked about the balance to make sure you don’t overreact, which is something you would want to avoid, so perhaps you can say a bit about that. Can I also ask: you have done some assessments, and I understand that in one of those people managed to smuggle bombs in. I think there was also an issue where some restricted files were left on a train by one of the staff in this area. Is it working all right?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: I think it is. To take your balance point, I think it is about right. Clearly this is a sporting event-a wonderful event for the country-and we don’t want it to be dominated by security in any sense, and I think we have balanced that well. I think that you will see a fantastic Games which is exactly that, and the police and those who support us will be very much a subsidiary but visible part of that to provide reassurance and allow people to feel safe.

Q31 Chair: The cost of the security is going to be enormous, is it not?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: The cost of security is clearly very substantial.

Q32 Chair: What is it going to be, roughly?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: Of course, it is the Government security programme. I need to think carefully before I say the numbers. I think it is-

Q33 Chair: I think it has been in the Evening Standard. Is it £282 million?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: I don’t recognise that figure.

Q34 Chair: You don’t? Well, it has obviously not been in the Evening Standard then.

Assistant Commissioner Dick: I think it is rather more than that, Chair.

Q35 Chair: More than £282 million?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: Yes.

Q36 Chair: How much more? I mean, you are the head of this shebang. You must know how much it is going to cost, because someone will come at the end and ask you to pay for it, won’t they?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: I am not the head of the whole shebang. As you know, Chris Allison is the national Olympics security co-ordinator.

Q37 Chair: Could you give the Committee a kind of estimate as to what it is likely to be? Do we know?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: I think the funding envelope for security at present is £475 million, but it could go up, although I would want to double check that and not mislead the Committee.

Q38 Chair: Of course. You can write to us if that figure is wrong. Also, can you comment on whether there are going to be 500 FBI officers here? Are you going to rely on the MoD to provide soldiers, or is it all going to be existing police officers and support staff?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: I think the idea that there will be 500 FBI is fanciful, and shortly after that report came out-I constantly meet with colleagues from the US embassy and others-I met with a number over in the States and they said it was rubbish.

Q39 Chair: But you will know; they will tell you. If they are sending over FBI agents, you will know. We do not want to know who they are and what they look like, but at least you will know how many are coming over.

Assistant Commissioner Dick: I would be confident of understanding all the security liaison that will go on around protected principals, the teams and other American visitors.

Q40 Chair: But someone will tell you how many are coming over from other countries. You will know this fact.

Assistant Commissioner Dick: I think I will, yes.

Q41 Chair: It is just yes or no. We just want to know. In terms of soldiers, is it right that the MoD is going to provide 3,000 soldiers with 2,000 on reserve?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: Again, I am sorry to be awkward, Chair, but I don’t think those figures are quite right.

Q42 Chair: That is all right. Well, that is why I am asking these questions. You are not being awkward at all. You are being very helpful. What is the right figure?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: If I was to refer you to the announcement that was made by the Secretary of State for Defence in the past two weeks, he talked about the various different capabilities that the military will be supplying.

Q43 Chair: But we don’t have him before us, so can you just tell us a figure?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: I can tell you that they will be supplying some niche support to the police. They will also be supplying support to LOCOG, the organising committee, in terms of guarding, and I think the baseline commitment for that is certainly in the thousands. Again, I don’t want to commit to a precise number.

Q44 Chair: But you could write to us and give us-

Assistant Commissioner Dick: I could write to you, or indeed you could find out from the Home Office or the Ministry of Defence.

Chair: Thank you; that is very helpful.

Q45 Alun Michael: We have seen a degree of instability at the top end of the Met in the past few months, and indeed the inquiries undertaken by this Committee perhaps contributed to some extent. As I understand it, Assistant Commissioner Lynne Owens has moved to become Chief Constable of Surrey. Are there other moves that are likely, or can we anticipate a period of stability at the top of the Met for the next year or so?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: You are right to say there has been some instability at the board level. Certainly there have been a number of changes, but our commissioner now has his feet firmly under the table. We have our new deputy commissioner and two other assistant commissioners started before Christmas, and I think they have begun to really get a grip of their business groups.

Q46 Alun Michael: So it is just Assistant Commissioner Owens’ post that is currently vacant, is it? Is that going to be filled quickly?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: No. Two new assistant commissioners: Mr Rowley, who was Chief Constable of Surrey, and Mr Byrne, have arrived. Mr Byrne is going to be Assistant Commissioner Territorial Policing, so that is the vast majority of the visible policing you see, and then Mr Rowley is taking on responsibility for both specialist crime and central operations, so we are, in effect, going down by one assistant commissioner. That is a positive decision by the Commissioner to create a different shape of the board.

Q47 Alun Michael: So the vacancy with Assistant Commissioner Owens moving on will not be filled?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: It has been filled by Mr Rowley already.

Q48 Alun Michael: I see. Which post goes, or is it not quite like that?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: They are combining the two, so it is a little complicated. She was Assistant Commissioner Central Operations. She then did ACSED and ACCO together, became successful in going to Surrey, and the Commissioner has subsequently decided to keep that combination together, which gives us some advantages in terms of things like our work on gangs and other things. But to cut to the quick, we are looking forward to a period of stability.

Q49 Chair: The Commissioner has merged the portfolio of Lynne Owens, which is the Sue Akers inquiry, if we can call it that-Operation Weeting-operations, business support, intelligence and covert policing, forensic services, Olympic intelligence, organised crime and specialist crime; with operations, business services, criminal justice, public order and specialist firearms. The two are being put together are they?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: Yes. Within those lists, there are some things which aren’t under the new portfolio. It is probably pedantic for me to go through that at the moment, but essentially those core responsibilities have been put together.

Q50 Chair: What has happened to Mr Fedorcio?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: Mr Fedorcio is on leave, I think.

Q51 Mr Winnick: Which means what?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: I am sorry. Mr Fedorcio is still employed by the Met.

Q52 Chair: Right, but he is on leave. You mean on holiday, or still suspended?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: I am terribly sorry, Chair. I do need to check that. Somebody might be able to tell me straight away.

Chair: Nobody is leaping forward.

Assistant Commissioner Dick: Okay. Suffice to say we still have an IPCC investigation in relation to matters that relate to Mr Fedorcio.

Q53 Chair: I think it is completed. This is what puzzles the Committee. We do take an interest in the Met and we are a bit puzzled, because I think that has been completed and it has been referred back to the Commissioner. How many other of the top tier that we see on our programme card here are on leave?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: Can I just go back one, just to explain that it is the normal process. If the IPCC does an investigation, it sends a report to us. We take a view on whether there is a case to answer and at what level, and then that is referred back to the IPCC, so we are still in that process. I can’t see which structure chart you have.

Q54 Chair: It is the one that you sent us-MPS senior management chart.

Assistant Commissioner Dick: And the question is?

Chair: How many are on leave or are they all at work?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: There is no one else not at work.

Q55 Chair: Nobody else? Excellent. Just on structures, am I right that you are the most senior woman in the Metropolitan Police, in terms of number of years as Assistant Commissioner?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: Yes, I think I am the equal most senior person in terms of number of years.

Q56 Chair: So you must be the most senior woman police officer in the country?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: I think some of my Chief Constable colleagues would argue about that.

Q57 Chair: On the issue of gender-because the Committee has always been concerned about ethnicity and gender in the Met and other forces-has there been a big improvement in the number of women Chief Constables and others at your rank?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: There certainly has. In the last 10 years, there has been a huge improvement. It is fair to say that in the last couple of years, the board of the Met-I mean, obviously, you are talking small numbers, so it will go up and down-has been about 50% women when you take into account our senior police staff members-Director of Information, Director of Resources-who are very powerful individuals. I know you are very familiar with DAC Akers, but actually at various times over the last two years, four out of five of our operational deputy assistant commissioners, who are the people who really run the operations and keep the show on the road, have been women as well. So that is a very big change from, say, 10 years ago, and there are a large number of Chief Constables and aspiring Chief Constables around the country who are women.

Q58 Chair: Yes. Is that a determined effort by the Met to try to improve gender equality, or is it coming through because of recruitment 10 or 20 years ago, which is what people thought it would be?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: No, I think there has been a genuine series of approaches over the last several years. Some of those I have been part of, I think, a very genuine set of approaches and an aspiration for the service to be more representative and to have the best choice of the best people at all levels.

Q59 Mr Winnick: Assistant Commissioner, while you are here, there has been in the press some sharp criticism that there is a disproportionate manner in which people of a certain kind are stopped and searched. Is the Met looking into seeing how, while combating criminality in every possible way, this aspect should be looked at again?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: Yes, we are. It is not my bit of the business but it is something that the Commissioner has made clear he wants to look at. As you know, we have made some great strides with this, but we still have unacceptably high levels of gun crime in London, and we have high levels of knife crime, which we have made some huge strides on, but we need to tackle. Stop and search is a very important tactic in that, but the Commissioner is acutely aware of the impact it can have-and has had-on some communities and the fact that some people even now still feel that they are not treated with sufficient respect or courtesy when it is done. So he is looking at a range of measures to try to make it a more intelligent use of a tactic-one in which it is more focused and used to greater effect so that there will be more arrests that come from it.

Q60 Chair: How often would you meet with Councillor Malthouse now that he is in effect the Police Commissioner for London?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: I think that might be a question for him.

Q61 Chair: No, when did you last see him?

Assistant Commissioner Dick: He only just started, but I saw him a couple of days ago. The Commissioner meets with him and his deputy meets with him very regularly, so I have over the last few months, of course. I would anticipate that, in my counter-terrorism and security role, I will see him at least once a month, and then there will be some other thematic meetings and no doubt other occasions when I will be called to account.

Chair: Assistant Commissioner, thank you very much for coming in today, and good luck in your new appointment.

Assistant Commissioner Dick: Thank you very much indeed.

Prepared 30th January 2012