Call for PM to intervene in Barnet MetPro scandal

OUTRAGED campaigners have written to Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg asking for a public inquiry into Barnet Council’s use of a security firm who secretly filmed residents.

Last month the Ham&High revealed how staff from the now dissolved MetPro Rapid Response Security used concealed CCTV cameras to film people at a Town Hall meeting on March 1.

Further investigations revealed that Barnet had paid the company – which advertises itself as an ‘alternative to 999’ – �250,000 for its services in just 10 months.

Eight concerned residents have now jointly sent a letter calling on the Prime Minister and his deputy to take action. They write: “We are taking the extraordinary measure of writing to you because although the issue about which we write is local, the implications have a bearing on many important issues across the country.

“We believe that local government must be seen to be open, honest, well run and law abiding.”

The group says the council has wasted hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money on the firm. They also allege that Barnet had no idea MetPro was “routinely” covertly filming residents and say they are still in the dark about what has happened to the footage gathered of them.

The council has already launched its own internal audit of its dealings with MetPro. it will be chaired by Lib Dem councillor Lord Monroe Palmer, but the authors of the letter labelled this in-house inquiry as “inadequate”.

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“We do not believe Barnet Council has staff experienced in such investigations,” they said.

The missive continued: “We believe Barnet Council has shown scant regard for its residents and its responsibilities. We ask you to use your office to intervene to ensure that Barnet Council starts discharging its legal responsibilities in the manner which the people of Barnet deserve.

“We are calling for a public inquiry into the MetPro affair to make sure such events cannot happen again and we ask you for your help in instigating this.”

But a council spokeswoman assured residents that all issues relating to the MetPro affair would be discussed fairly and openly in the inquiry.

She said: “Once we were aware MetPro had gone into liquidation we terminated its contract, as is normal practice. Given the circumstances of the termination, the chief executive Nick Walkley has asked for a full audit of the arrangements surrounding the contract with MetPro.

“This will also make sure that any lessons learned will be passed on to the rest of the organisation. Any such report would go before the audit committee as part of its normal activity.”