The Metropolitan Police Service is calling on retired officers to return to duty and urging those nearing retirement to stay on.
Commissioner Cressida Dick is writing all former Met Police officers who retired within the past five years to ask them to rejoin London’s police service in a paid or voluntary capacity, to help with its efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Police officers overwhelmingly join ‘the job’ to help people and to make a difference, and that desire will be as strong today as it was the very first day they joined.” – Cressida Dick, Metropolitan Police
All officers who retired as police constables or sergeants within this time period are being asked to rejoin at these ranks on a full- or part-time basis. Former senior officers with specific skills or experience may also be asked to return to the service.
Those who retired at the rank of inspector or above, and those who feel returning is not right for them, are being asked to consider being sworn in as members of the Met’s ‘Special Constabulary’ and committing to at least 16 hours’ work per month, or volunteering.
Met Police commissioner Cressida Dick said: “On behalf of London, and all the men and women of the Met, it is important that we take all reasonable steps to bolster our numbers.
“Demands on us will grow and vary over the coming weeks but I want people to know and see that the Met is here for them. We must maintain our operational resilience and continue to provide the best possible service to London.
“Police officers overwhelmingly join ‘the job’ to help people and to make a difference, and that desire will be as strong today as it was the very first day they joined. I am hopeful that these exceptionally experienced and knowledgeable former colleagues choose to come and be part of our team and support London at this extraordinary time – either as a re-employed police officer, special constable or a volunteer.”
Former officers wishing to return will be asked to complete a “simple” online form to ensure the process is as fast as possible. They will also need to be supported by a serving officer, who will act as a sponsor.
Yesterday (26 March) the Home Office unveiled a support package to help boost police resources. This included a commitment to relax tax and pension rules which may have been deterring police officers who are nearing retirement from continuing their duties for longer, although it gave no further details about what this would mean.
It also gave police officers new powers to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus by ensuring that people stay at home unless they need to make essential journeys.
They will be able to issue fixed penalty notices of £60 for non-compliance with lockdown rules, which will be lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days. Second-time offenders will receive a fixed penalty notice of £120, and the fine will double on each further repeat offence. Police officers will also be able to arrest people who do not adhere to the lockdown rules.
Home secretary Priti Patel said: “The Prime Minister has been clear on what we need to do: stay at home to protect our NHS and save lives. All our frontline services really are the best of us and are doing an incredible job to stop this terrible virus from spreading.
“That’s why I’m giving the police these new enforcement powers, to protect the public and keep people safe.”
John Apter, national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “We are in unprecedented and uncertain times, but one thing remains constant: saving lives and protecting the public is the number one priority for the police. It is essential that we all come together and play our part in doing so.
“The practicalities of policing this lockdown will be challenging, but these new powers will assist us in keeping the public safe.”