Expertise is sometimes 'irreplaceable' the Met admitted
The number of firearms officers transferring out of the Met Police has surged 1300 per cent over three years, documents reveal.
Highly skilled Met Police officers, jaded with the excitement of fighting crime in the capital city are packing up for pastures new, according to the force’s submission to the police pay review body.
Between 2015 and 2017 the number of officers transferring out of the firearms unit increased by 1300 per cent (from just one transferee in 2015 to and 13 in 2016 to 14 in 2017).
Officers in the homicide and major crime unit transferring from MPS increased by 1000 per cent over the same time period.
Chief Executive of the Police Firearms Officers Association Mark Williams told Police Oracle officers have left the force to move to areas with cheaper house prices.
He said: “There are many forces advertising on a regular basis for firearms officers so this may tempt people away as it’s a smooth process to transfer."
Early warning signs of an exodus of specialist Met Officers appear to be part of a wider problem as the number of constables and detective constables transferring from the force spiralled 183 per cent and 59 per cent respectively.
Overall, the Met has seen a 126 per cent increase in transfers to other forces while transfers in have fallen by 44 per cent.
Average service was just over nine years, equivalent to over 7,300 years in policing experience.
The report said: “Expertise is sometimes irreplaceable and re-training costs can be considerable.
“It is recognised that some may not see transfers as being particularly serious, as the officers are not lost to the wider police service, but to the host force it can be a significant issue.
“The cost of training a new recruit and the loss of skills and experience, often in highly specialist areas, can have a profound impact on service delivery.
“In statistical terms, the numbers are very small but this can present a misleading picture. Many of the transferees are highly experienced officers, with sought after skills, and the impact of their departure can be totally disproportionate to the numbers involved."
The report admitted the figures are a “worrying indication of potential underlying issues” such as pay and pension changes.
But the MPS was unable to say “exactly how much of the transfer increase is linked to pay.”
”In the case of many forces such as, Hampshire and Devon and Cornwall (which was fourth on the list and took 19 officers in 2017 with no reciprocal transfers) there are likely to be personal and lifestyle choices being made.
“The fact that in just one year we lost 58 officers from our more demanding boroughs [Westmister HQ saw a 450 per cent rise in transferees and Wandsworth lost 350 per cent more officers] also supports this theory,” the report said.
“The Met is a significant net loser as far as the transfer market is concerned and this is another indication that recruitment and retention payments may not be sufficiently attractive to encourage experienced officers to remain working in London.”
To help address the issue, the MPS is introducing from April 2018 an extension to the travel scheme and also plans to carry out more detailed research to better understand the problem.
The MPS is concerned transferees could create a “significant operation risk” as forces adjust their recruitment plans in light of council tax precept decisions.
The force is asking for a combined London weighting pay rise by up to 33 per cent.