Boris Johnson wants to take control of the criminal justice system in London, giving him the power to hold to account those responsible for arresting to charging and prosecuting. This move would secure control of courts and prosecution service.
Although Boris Johnson is fighting for more powers, he is already responsible for policing, transport and housing in London. London’s mayor is also responsible for the Metropolitan Police where he sets its budget and strategic priorities.
Those opposing these plans see it as a grab for power from Johnson who is standing as an MP in the 2015 general election and could be fighting Theresa May if the opportunity for Tory leadership came up next May. Supporters argue that devolving the powers to the mayor could allow more front line officers to be kept even when more cuts are planned to be made after the 2015 election.
Stephen Greenhalgh, Johnson’s deputy major for policing, told the Guardian, that he believes devolution would deliver a better service and would allow a greater focus on the holy grail of the justice system which would reduce repeat offending.
‘The criminal justice system should be held to account as the Met is in London, otherwise these are unaccountable agencies not answering to the people in London.’
Greenhalgh added that it was ‘a 19th-century construct with 19th-century technology which needs to move into the 21st century’.