Jul 31 2012

What do the HPCCG do for Harrow?

You might not have heard of the Harrow and Police Community Consultative Group.

Although they’ve been in the local news over the last few years (here and here, for example) for spending taxpayer’s money on theatre trips, yoga classes and – in one well-documented case – a £3.50 carton of orange juice. Although to be fair, the Chair at the time did concede that it might have been a little higher than would be reasonable.

The HPCCG is funded – to the tune of £50,000 of taxpayer’s money each year – by the Mayor’s Office of Policing and Community), and was so (albeit from the Metropolitan Police Authority) up until this year. The details of why the HPCCG didn’t receive it’s funding, whereas all other London Boroughs – all 32 of them – did, remain unclear, and you’ll have to draw your own conclusions. The local press has published comments from it’s then-Chair suggesting that they applied three times, getting turned down each time.

Anyway, you might be wondering what, exactly, this group does? Well, you’d have to look at it’s constitution to find out that, which unfortunately, remains secret, and unavailable to Harrow residents to look at if you ask them to send you a copy – and this is despite the group proclaiming to be open, transparent and working on behalf of Harrovians.

The only way to get sight of this document – apparently, we’ve not tried this yet – is to go along to one of their meetings, and collect it in person. Whether they vet attendance at the meetings, we don’t know. But it’s a moot point, as they have no meeting dates scheduled.

The only words we could get from their Chair, were that “…the aims and objects of HPCCG is to hold the Police accountable. In brief this is done by holding bi-monthly meetings…” Seems that £50,000 could buy an awful lot of coffee and biscuits if that’s all they do.

We’ve exchanged a lot of email over the last week trying to get to the bottom of this, and our view is that they’re slightly confused: both their Chair and their Vice-Chair responded differently to our emails, and their Chair managed to also include us in an email saying, “…he will get the message, he cannot muck around with us.” And that’s following their Vice-chair describing one of our emails as a “missive” – seems they really don’t like having to explain themselves.

We’ve been promised a call back or an email from their PR/Communications Officer to tell us what they mean by “open and transparent”, as clearly, their interpretation differs from my dictionary’s.

The HPCCG come across as as arrogant, confused, offensive, unprofessional, secretive and unable to communicate in an appropriate and professional manner with the (tax-paying) community with which they’ve deemed themselves as serving. And as for describing themselves as “open” and “transparent” – our experience is entirely the opposite.

We’ll finish with a statement from the MOPC which sums them up nicely:

“Harrow PCCG was given three separate opportunities from June to October 2011, to submit a funding application based on the set MPA criteria. At each opportunity, support and advice was provided to the management committee by the MPA borough officer. On October 31, the chair of Harrow PCCG was advised the final funding application had not met the required MPA criteria and on this basis, the MPA advised the Harrow PCCG management committee that it could not release any further funds to the group.”




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