Most new recruits to the Metropolitan Police, the UK’s biggest force, will have to work as volunteers before they can earn a salary, under proposed radical changes to the recruitment procedure.
A paper outlining the changes is today being considered by the Metropolitan Police Authority. The new guidelines aim to save £20,000 per recruit.
Under the proposal, applicants other than the volunteers will either come from its body of Police Community Support Officers or have law and policing qualifications.
The paper argues that the force’s recruitment method should change from “generic, lengthy, ongoing campaigns” to “discrete, time-limited recruitment campaigns”.
“The proposal will result in significant cash savings, improve local service provision and provide participants with a range of transferable skills,” it said.
Currently, police recruits receive 25 weeks of training regardless of previous qualifications and on-the-job experience. They are paid a salary of £23,000 during their first two years.
The Met recruited 2,000 new officers last year, but this latest proposal is symptomatic of a raft of cost-cutting measures being introduced across the public sector in preparation for the huge cuts expected under the Government’s spending review. Forces up and down the country have already announced job losses and recruitment freezes, and many would-be officers have had their applications rejected.