Tue, 29 Nov 2022

Bureaucracy is preventing London police from sacking "not properly deployable" staff, the chief constable has said

As much as 10% of the Metropolitan Police force are not fit to serve, its commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, has told the Times. He named bureaucratic procedures as the main reason why underperforming and misbehaving staff members continue to work for the law enforcement force serving London.

In an interview published on Friday, Rowley revealed that only 90% of the 35,000-strong force are fully deployable, while some 3,000 officers have either health or performance issues.

"We can't deal with a workforce where such a big proportion are not properly deployable," Rowley said.

He explained that many of these officers can't work shifts, long days, or their contact with the public should be limited due to "anxiety-related issues."

Emphasizing that Scotland Yard will always be "super helpful and sympathetic" to injured officers and to those suffering from mental problems, Rowley said that it is "challenging" for the force to have so many unfit staff members.

According to The Times, Rowley is frustrated at the obstacles in place to firing public servants who don't satisfy their job requirements. He also hopes for a change in police regulations that would allow him to dismiss some of the "not properly deployable" officers more easily. These efforts are currently being obstructed by a "heavily bureaucratic" dismissal process, he explained. 

"Resetting of standards" is also necessary, according to Rowley, to "ratchet up" the response to misogyny, violence, and misconduct within the ranks. He revealed his plan to conduct retrospective investigations into officers with a history of misbehavior and who had managed to evade being disciplined.

Last month, a preliminary review compiled by independent advisor Baroness Louise Casey exposed over 1,800 "repeated offenders" among police officers. According to the report, 1,263 officers and staff had been involved in two or more disciplinary cases, while just over 500 in three to five, and 41 in six or more. Only 13 of those individuals had been dismissed, Casey said.

In response to these revelations, Rowley vowed to "turn around" the force and to "get rid" of hundreds of officers who "don't deserve to be a cop."

Rowley's predecessor, Cressida Dick, resigned in February, soon after a report by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) revealed numerous incidents of racism, sexism, and bullying within the Met's ranks.

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