The Bishopsgate Bomb: City force 'an anachronism'

AS THE City of London Police called for new powers to deal with the IRA threat, the future of the force itself was under close examination as a result of the Bishopsgate bomb, writes Terry Kirby.

Critics argued last night that an 800-strong body surrounded by the 27,000-strong Metropolitan Police was an anachronism at a time of pressure for effective use of resources and the threat of terrorism.

'Apart from the force itself, I cannot think of many police officers who believe it should retain separate identity,' Brian Hilliard, editor of Police Review, an independent weekly magazine, said. 'It is a complete anachronism. It is surely wrong that the Anti-Terrorist Branch and Special Branch have to seek permission to operate in the City.'

Derek Sawyer, leader of Islington Council and policing spokesman for the Association of London Authorities, said: 'It has been an anomaly for a very long time. Eventually it will have to go.'

The planned re-organisation of the Metropolitan Police into self- governing areas, borough-level budgetary control and the establishment of a police authority has created the ideal opportunity for merger. High-ranking Metropolitan Police officers take the view that the City could be easily absorbed. Asked how it would be run, one said: 'We can send in a sergeant.'

Barry Irving, director of the Police Foundation, said that, despite the arguments for ending its isolation, 'asking the City to merge with the Met is a bit like asking the Swiss Guard at the Vatican to join the Carabinieri of Rome. Of all the small forces threatened, the City is the safest because of special interests protecting it.'

Merger is an idea the Corporation of London, which acts as its police authority, firmly rejects. 'The City is a particular community with particular needs and the force has developed special expertise to deal with those. To abolish it would not make sense,' a spokesman said.

Founded in 1839, the City has a budget of more than pounds 50m for a force 849 strong, increased from 798 since the Baltic Exchange bomb. It polices a population of under 5,000 at night, rising to more than 300,000 during the day. General crime levels are low.

Much criticism stems from the idea that it is the private force of the Corporation, which is largely funded by the business community; it could put the Home Office under pressure to match any increase in resources it chose to give the force.

The force is acknowleged as being financially and operationally efficient and has the leading fraud department in the country.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist / Physio / Osteopath

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for o...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Sales Executive - Contract Hire

£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leader provides c...

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most