Met looks back for answers

The Metropolitan Police Service has boosted recruitment of police officers by 50 per cent after the launch of a taskforce of personnel managers and officers.

It will put 143 new officers through its training college next month compared with only 95 a month earlier this year.

The Met set up the taskforce to find out why it was having such trouble recruiting police officers. It contacted 800 people it had previously rejected and asked them to reapply. This led to criticisms in the national press last week that the service was dropping its standards.

"This is not about lowering standards. It’s about taking a holistic approach," head of the taskforce Chief Superintendent Alan Given told Personnel Today last week.

"We used to have a linear process and if you fell at one of the hurdles you were out. You may be fit, have a great knowledge of the world, a good attitude to policing but struggle with the written English test and therefore not get in. Or if you fail the fitness test by one press-up, you’re out and can’t reapply for another year."

The Met has also relaxed its ban on officers with tattoos – although those with rude, racist or sexist tattoos will remain disqualified. And it has relaxed its approach to health, allowing officers who suffer migraines or mild asthma to join.

In addition to replacing officers lost through natural wastage, the Met aims to recruit an additional 2,000 over the next two years. The extra officers will be funded by Government as part of its crime reduction strategy.

By Lisa Bratby

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