The Metropolitan Police will call on support staff from across the authority to take on certain policing duties if terrorists strike London again.
The move comes after the service found itself stretched to the limit on 7 July when bombs exploded on three tube trains and on one bus, killing 56 people. Two weeks later, the service was again at full capacity when there were four failed attempts to bomb the transport network.
A report will be completed in two weeks which will recommend that the police set up a central database of skills held by staff who would not normally respond to emergency calls.
The Met hopes that a centralised source of information will allow it to mobilise people quickly in a wide range of roles, including manning outer cordons, giving out information, or certain driving duties.
This will free up police officers to deal with more pressing tasks, according to Martin Tiplady, the Met’s HR director.
“In the wake of 7/7 and 21/7 we mobilised almost every resource we had – we were at full stretch,” he told Personnel Today.
“In the event of a further attack we need to be looking at what else we can mobilise – who might be able to carry out roles other than those for which they are paid.”
Tiplady said that the list would be compiled of volunteers who would be put through risk assessments and trained in appropriate skills if necessary.
“The last thing we want is to make people nervous about what they will be asked to do. The volunteers will be trained and prepared,” he said.
There would be no shortage of volunteers, Tiplady added. “A high majority [of police staff] said on 7/7 they wanted to do more.”
The Met’s proactive approach to business continuity is at odds with many other employers in London, according to research.
A survey of 100 firms, by Cable and Wireless, reveals that less than a third of London businesses have updated their business continuity plans since this summer’s terrorist incidents.