The Barnet thuggerama saga continues to enthrall and appal.
This week’s Ham & High (story not on-line, apparently) picks up on, but fails to report Monday’s Barnet Council meeting.
Councillor Alison Moore, leader of the Labour opposition, had an emergency motion down (full text here), which was inevitably squelched by the Tory mafia.
What transpires from all this is:
- MetPro had a contract with Barnet;
- MetPro had no Security Industry Authority [SIA] licences for the “security” services they were providing;
- Barnet and MetPro disagree on the most essential aspect of that contract:
Noyan Nihat … said he has applied for the [appropriate] licence but has not yet received it. He also said his company employees were not “security staff” for the borough of Barnet — a claim Barnet disputes.
- Barnet had not bothered to check these non-existent licences (well, natch);
- Barnet were unable to see what was clearly happening inside their own premises and Council chamber:
Barnet Council said that it was unaware that members of MetPro staff were not registered. A spokesman said: “We were assured by MetPro that all staff were SIA registered. Staff should have been following industry guidelines and been wearing accredited ID”.
- The Met Police now say that any CCTV or surreptitious camerawork was totally out-of-order; but, of course, they had previously taken no great interest in MetPro, even though MetPro vehicles, tarted up to look “official”, were putting themselves obtrusively around North London:
This week Deputy Borough police commander of Barnet, Neil Seabridge emphasised that use of any ‘covert’ or ‘intrusive surveillance would not have been sanctioned by police … a highly regulated area which requires specific written authority by a police superintendent or above when police initiate it for very specific reasons linked to investigation or prevention of crime.
Odd that: the MetPro web-site (still up, active, and apparently touting for custom) suggests that, by name and by inclination, the Met Police and this gang of shysters are in the same business:
In May 2009, MetPro Emergency Response launched its private emergency response service in Totteridge. Since then, it has gone from strength to strength, proving successful in becoming a valuable asset to a great many houses in Totteridge and Whetstone. By acting as a visual deterrent, the crime rate has dropped substantially in this area whilst increasing everywhere else.
MetPro Emergency Response is now expanding the service by taking it borough wide, thereby providing the protection and peace of mind for many more people in the surrounding areas.
Pretty well every aspect of the MetPro-Barnet connexion seems more Capone than kosher. So Malcolm feels an urge to speculate:
Suppose this (or anything like it) occurred in the next-door borough of Haringey, which is Labour controlled. Would not the streets be crawling with reptiles from the Tory press? Would not the shrieks of LibDem MPs and camp-followers rise for revenge? Would not Pickles have his heavy mob rummaging through the documents?
Barnet is a star EasyJet council, the apple of any Tory eye. As such, in the present dispensation, it can do no wrong — well, it can’t be seen to do so. And if it does, tut tut!
Mr Toad, Councillor Brian Coleman has his political base in Barnet. Coleman is Boris Johnson’s personal fire-wall.
There will, it seems, be no enquiry into the whole shebang. That’s despite the clear assumptions that crimes have been committed — and not just defrauding the revenue and the Council tax-payer. When MetPro were admitted to sites (college and library) where children and young persons were likely to be, a certain amount of form-filling would usually be required. If Barnet by-passed those requirements, there is a burden of proof on the Council.
Instead any “audit” will take place in private, under the helpful scrutiny of LibDem Councillor Lord Monroe Palmer, elevated to the House of Lords last autumn as one of Nick Clegg’s loyal ConDem praetorians.