London politicians, Fed branch chairman and special staff association all in favour of retired officers working a few hours a month
There are growing calls for the development of a police reserve which could retain skills of retired officers without continuing to employ them full time.
Politicians on the London Assembly have recommended the Met looks at creating such a back-up force, modelled on systems in place in the US.
A new report says: “The Met requires a more flexible workforce. The deputy commissioner [Craig Mackey] has recently written to retired officers asking them to consider returning to the force.
“The deputy commissioner specifically linked this request to the stretch from the recent incidents at Westminster, London Bridge and Grenfell Tower.
“Guests highlighted the loss of experience when officers retire or resign, as well as the training costs already invested in recruits who then leave.
“Having a cadre of retained police officers would help alleviate pressure at times of great need and bring flexibility to the work force. It should not, however, become a substitute for proper recruitment of new officers.”
Earlier this year they heard evidence from Met Police Federation chairman Ken Marsh about such a system.
He said: “The Americans have a very interesting thing called the red warrant card, which is for retired officers. You are still a warranted officer and you can still be called upon. It is a bit like Dad’s Army, if you want to call it that, but it does work.
“Once a year they do a refresher for about a week and they can be called upon any time as circumstances are now.
“They are then put on an hourly rate and they are brought back into the system. These are very easy things to do to retain a pool of very qualified officers.”
He said that the cost of training 650 new officers, to replace the number who left in the previous 12 months, is around £10 million.
“They are not Tesco’s employees, no disrespect to Tesco’s. These are highly trained, very quickly. When you are talking about £10 million just going because they have left, can we afford to do that?” he said.
Special Commander Ian Miller, chairman of the Association of Special Constabulary Chief Officers, told Police Oracle that such a system – which he has observed in the US – could be integrated into the volunteer police workforce.
“In Orange County half of the reserve police are ex-regulars. If they volunteer for a minimum number of hours a week they become eligible for paid assignments.
“ASCCO believes there’s a place for a mixed economy of officers and reservists. Research shows it’s easier to have them in the same legal structure.
“This may help to retain specialist skills like firearms officers and collision investigators.”
The Police Firearms Officers Association has also called for a reserve force to be established.
The NPCC has been examining whether to ask the government to change police pension schemes to give greater incentives to specialist officers not to retire after completing 30 years of service.