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Met plans Olympic-sized increase of specials in fight against violent crime


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Lloyd's joins paid-leave scheme as Met looks at turning back the clock to 2012 recruiting levels.

Strength in numbers: Launch of the Employer Supported Policing scheme at New Scotland Yard

Strength in numbers: Launch of the Employer Supported Policing scheme at New Scotland Yard

Date - 24th April 2019
By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle
8 Comments8 Comments}

 

The Met is looking to nearly triple the number of special constables and turn back the clock – to help plug gaps in the fight against violent crime.

It aims at increasing the numbers from 1,900 to 5,000 as it expands its Employer Supported Policing Scheme where companies contribute by giving their staff paid leave to become specials.

One of the country’s oldest employers – Lloyds insurers – has signed up by offering paid leave of up to 30 days in the first year, on top of holidays, so staff can join the Met as specials.

The number of specials has been decimated since 2012, the year of the London Olympics, when the Met had 5,000 and there were 19,000 nationally.

There are now around 12,000 across England and Wales.

Frontline policing Commander Dave Musker, who welcomed the “positive commitment and contribution” of Lloyd’s to grant its staff special paid leave specifically to volunteer up to 10 days a year and with extra support for initial training, said: “The Employer Supported Policing Scheme is a powerful partnership between, businesses and the Met.

“It benefits employers, their staff and the police service by releasing special constables to volunteer in the communities they serve.

“This is something which directly contributes to making London safer and provides businesses with a unique opportunity to play their part.”

Currently, 17 companies have committed to the Met scheme and as a result, 153 people have joined the Met as specials through the scheme.

As of February this year, the London force has 1,883 special constables in varying ranks and roles. Of these, 499 are women and 1,158 are men.

Lloyd’s CEO John Neal said: “Lloyd’s is committed to supporting our employees with the work they do in the community.

“We are therefore delighted to partner with the Met for this scheme. It offers Lloyd’s employees the opportunity to gain new and valuable skills used both in the workplace and everyday life – such as resilience, leadership and managing difficult situations – and, at the same time, play a part in keeping London’s streets safe.”

Over the past three months, specials have contributed more than 93,000 policing hours – two-thirds as operational duties – and contributed an average of 22 hours a month.

Officers work across the dozen basic command units and support specialist commands such as the roads and transport policing command and parliamentary and diplomatic protection.

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Recruiting quantity over quality has never caused any problems anywhere before...

And before anyone asks, no I do not believe they can reach 5,000 and maintain/improve quality at the same time...

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Retention is the issue. We had this in my force where we recruited like mad only for numbers to drop within a year. 

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How many times has this happened?

 

I know many forces which in some cases trippled the number of specials recruited over a few years and were left with the same numbers (or even fewer) at the end of the process. If they are going to do something different it isn't about a tiny selection of employers giving time off for police duties, it's about having the infrastructure and incentives within the police to keep people on board.

 

We lost hundreds of specials here about a decade ago when a large swathe with 10-20 years experience left on mass, as some felt condescended to, when terms were changed and the types of duties reorganized. Whilst it is important to ensure officers are in the right areas, it is important to actually have the officers in the first place!

 

 

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I thought the government had increased police spending so why do we need to recruit specials....?

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Recruiting quantity over quality has never caused any problems anywhere before...
And before anyone asks, no I do not believe they can reach 5,000 and maintain/improve quality at the same time...
This. Totally this.

Plus my intake's post training dropout rate was just over 60%, and I'm told this isn't all that unusual they're likely being overly ambitious to get to 5k SCs.
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Perhaps they should have concentrated on retaining some of the Specials recruited for the Olympics

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The retention rate is an issue countrywide, and has been for decades. When will someone address this fundamental issue?

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Perhaps what is needed is to take a leaf out of the PSNI book, train better, pay them and then allocate to shifts or busy times, which given many specials work weekends and evenings, it would probably work better.

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Make them reserves and pay them like the Armed Forces do 🤯

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...or actually take the safety of citizens and their policing seriously and invest in quality of regular officers, Funkywingnut? Or is that just too radical?

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6 minutes ago, David said:

...or actually take the safety of citizens and their policing seriously and invest in quality of regular officers, Funkywingnut? Or is that just too radical?

Absolutely, but the police isn't efficient, red tape has crept in and hampers day to day operations.  I agree, invest in regular officers, but there is some real merit to having a paid reserve police element. After all, if its good enough for the defence of the nation, there is no reason why it isn't good enough to augment regular officers. 

I don't understand why a paid reserve has never been trialled 

Edited by Funkywingnut
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Just now, David said:

...or actually take the safety of citizens and their policing seriously and invest in quality of regular officers, Funkywingnut? Or is that just too radical?

Part of the issue with the police has always been capacity. I believe in the concept of the specials, in fact the concept is way older than professional policing, and they have a role. But I agree that resources should be put into employing regulars and upskilling the specials we have. I see, however, very few drawbacks in the police having a well trained paid part-time reserve. It works for the armed forces, the fire service and others.

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