Lord Toby Harris has been involved in policing issues for many years.
He introduced one of the first local community safety partnerships when he was Leader of Haringey Council in the 1990s and led for local government nationally in the negotiations with the Home Office that led to the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.
He was the first Chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority and oversaw a number of major changes between 2000 and 2004. His term of office saw the most significant increase the size of the Metropolitan Police in its history, the introduction of Police Community Support Officers and neighbourhood policing across London, and at the same time successfully turning round street crime, cutting burglary and meeting the full range of Government targets.
He continued to sit on the Metropolitan Police Authority until 2012, as the Home Secretary’s representative overseeing the national work of the Metropolitan Police on counter-terrorism and security. However, he also chaired the Authority’s Corporate Governance Committee which deals with audit matters, risk management and health and safety issues, and was the interim chair of the Audit Panel for the Metropolitan Police Service and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime. He was Vice-President of the Association of Police Authorities and was a member of its Executive for six years.
He is also Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Policing and frequently speaks in the House of Lords on policing matters (see, for example, the debate on the future of policing on 7 June 2007 or the many debates on the Anti-Social Behaviour, Policing and Crime Bill in the 2013/14 session).
He frequently appears on radio and television talking about policing and has spoken at a number of major conferences and events including:
- “Interesting Times for Policing” (GovNet Criminal Justice Conference) 19 September 2012
- “Lessons from the UK Riots” (CSARN) 11 May 2012
- “The Future of Policing” (Inside Government) 16 March 2011
- “Policing in the 21st Century” (CPPS) 29 October 2010
- “Improving Neighbourhood Policing” (Inside Government) 23 February 2010
- “Police-involved and in custody deaths – the British experience” (British Columbia Civil Liberties Association) 21 January 2010
- “Policing Effectiveness, Partnerships and Accountability” (Centre for Public Policy Seminars) 9 May 2008
- “Delivering Effective Neighbourhood Policing” (Centre for Public Policy Seminars) 10 March 2006
- “Police Reorganisation – Local Accountability” (Capita) 28 February 2006
- “Police Conduct and Standards” (Capita) 23 June 2005
- “Police Leadership and Accountability” (Capita) 25 May 2005
- “Operational Policing and Community Involvement” (Centre for Public Policy Seminars) 22 April 2005
- “Delivering Race Equality in the Police” (Infolog) 6 April 2005
- “Citizen Focus in Policing” (Infolog) 23 February 2005