Home UK News Met Police only force in England & Wales ‘struggling to recruit officers’

Met Police only force in England & Wales ‘struggling to recruit officers’

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Metropolitan Police only force to fail recruitment

The Met has fallen short of the Government’s aim of recruiting additional officers, making it the only police force in England and Wales to do so. According to preliminary Home Office numbers, a total of 20,951 new recruits have joined police forces in the last three years, following a Conservative election campaign goal to have 20,000 additional officers in place by March 2023.

However, the Metropolitan Police was the only force to fall short, with approximately 1,000 roles remaining unfilled. Seven police departments around the country reported preliminary results that are at least 20% higher than their aims.

Opponents have argued that the government was falling short of its pledge to replace thousands of jobs lost as a result of austerity measures. According to the data, the aim was only met when recruiting was cranked up in the weeks leading up to the deadline.

Sir Mark Rowley discussed the Metropolitan Police's recruitment failures
Sir Mark Rowley discussed it at the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee today, on Wednesday 26th

Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley told MPs today that he was disappointed that the aim had not been met, and that the force’s present poor reputation was hurting recruiting. He said: “We are 1,000 officers light of our target. I wish we’d hit it, but we haven’t.”

When asked why, he told the Commons Home Affairs Committee: “There are a range of factors in this. We have recruited over the last three years more than 9,000 officers, which is the most, I think, ever in such a short period.

“We haven’t hit the target. Obviously we are striving to maintain the quality, that’s really important. The reputation of the organisation at the moment doesn’t help recruiting, but also the employment market and the pay situation is really challenging.

“The employment market in London, as you all know, is very, very hot and very difficult, and frontline officer pay points have gone down 17 per cent in real terms in a decade, so we’re paying people less, new recruits less, in the hottest part of the employment market in the country. So, I think that’s a factor as well.”

Suella Braverman rejected the Metropolitan Police's failures
Suella Braverman has rejected the figures were a failure of austerity, instead telling reporters the efforts were a success

A spokesperson for the Met said: “Thousands of people have risen to the challenge of policing London by becoming a Met police officer over the past four years. Over the full uplift period, from October 2019, to 31 March, 2023, we recruited an additional 3,468 officers into the Met against an uplift target of 4,557 (76 per cent).

“Thanks to funding from the Home Office and the Mayor, we now have the greatest number of police officers, 35,411, in our history. 11,181 of our police officers are female – the most the Met has ever had.

“We are proud that more than half of the UK’s Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Heritage police officers, 6,001, continue to choose the Met as their employer, and that we see year-on-year growth in this area. Our thousands of diverse police officers are bringing their life experience, community knowledge and skills to the Met, to keep millions of people in the capital safe every day.

“The Met will continue to recruit officers in the year ahead, and we are determined to attract a greater number of officers from under-represented communities in order to build a Met that is even more representative of Londoners; as well as to develop stronger relationships with local communities, enabling us to bear down on the crime that is affecting people the most.

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London cited the cost of living crisis and police officer wages as a possible reason behind the disappointing figures. They said: “It is absolutely right that the Met focuses on recruiting police officers of the highest quality, rather than focusing on quantity at any cost. Whilst more than 9,000 officers have been recruited in the last three years, there is no doubt that the cost-of-living crisis and huge real-terms cuts in police pay have affected the ability of the Met to recruit and retain the best officers in the capital.

“Against the backdrop of huge Government cuts, the Mayor has invested more than £1billion in policing and is directly funding 1,300 police officers in our town centres and communities, helping to elevate Met officer numbers to their highest level in history.

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