Town Hall sorry for keeping Camden police chief waiting 45 minutes for knife crime meeting

Camden Town Hall (Photograph: Google Maps)

Camden Council has apologised for a 45 minute delay to a scrutiny meeting due to not enough councillors attending which kept Camden’s chief of police waiting for nearly an hour.

Chief Superintendent Nick Davis, borough commander for Camden and Islington, was at the Town Hall on 15 March to be quizzed by councillors about knife crime and other issues.

But the meeting started 45 minutes late and was nearly cancelled because not enough councillors on the committee had turned up.

Only three members of the culture and environment scrutiny committee had arrived for the meeting, not including the chair, making it one short of a “quorum” – the minimum required number of attendees.

Committee chair Cllr Awale Olad apologised and was eventually able to reach fellow Labour councillor Heather Johnson, who sped over to the Town Hall so the meeting could go ahead.

A Camden Council spokesperson, when asked about this by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, said: “We received a number of last minute apologies, both for absence and lateness, from members who had commitments elsewhere that evening with no substitute members available leaving the meeting inquorate initially.

“Members are asked to communicate their apologies as far in advance as possible and seek a substitute, but as in this case this is not always possible.

“As the chair stressed during his apology to the meeting this was an unusual occurrence for the committee.”

Chief Superintendent Davies was joined on the panel by Jessica Gibbons, Camden’s director of community services, and answered questions on knife crime, homelessness, drugs, begging and anti-social behaviour.

However, councillors’ questions did not deal with the detail of scrutiny, instead asking generally about the issues raised.

For example, Cllr Johnson asked why a report to the committee had suggested a link between homelessness and anti-social behaviour, while Conservative councillor Stephen Stark asked whether homeless people were on the streets by choice or misfortune.

Others attending were Labour’s Cllr Nadia Shah, cabinet member for safer neighbourhoods, Cllr James Yarde, and later Cllr Rishi Madlani, who arrived after the meeting had begun.

Those missing were Cllr Douglas Beattie, Cllr Sue Vincent – both Labour – and Cllr Gio Spinella, the leader of Camden’s Conservatives.