Cops Sleep In Cupboards To Get To Work On Time
Sunday 26th August 2012
"Sleeping under tables and next to sewage pipes – we're treated worse than the people we arrest."
Police officers are being forced to sleep in cupboards, under tables and even in McDonalds because of the pressure on Scotland Yard’s resources.
LBC 97.3 has uncovered evidence of the drastic measures being taken by officers to get to work on time during one of the most challenging periods in the Met’s history.
One individual, who recently resigned citing “bad management, poor leadership and appalling working conditions”, described how some colleagues had even used bolt croppers to break into disused police accommodation in order to sleep between shifts.
Those we’ve spoken to say their existing 12-hour shift-patterns often aren’t flexible enough to let them respond to routine incidents, get home and rest then return for their next shift.
While the problem was acute during the riots, it's continued throughout this year and is made worse by the growing number of officers living outside London.
According to figures obtained by LBC 97.3, only 4 in 10 serving officers now live in a London borough, as increasingly they’re forced to move out by the high cost of housing in the capital and the removal of rent allowances and station houses, which used to provide relatively low cost accommodation close to police stations.
With hundreds of officers often only able to rest for a few hours between shifts, many are resorting to sleeping bags and camping beds in police stations. One source told us that senior managers at the Met are “so far removed from reality, they don’t know what’s happening.”
A Numbers Game
Insiders say morale was already low because of a pay freeze and claim more officers are now choosing to walk out on their jobs. The Met Police Federation estimates the number of officers leaving in the last three months has doubled from the usual level of around 100 a month. While unable to confirm the accuracy of the claims, Scotland Yard has told us there has been a recent increase in the numbers leaving.
That trend may yet have implications beyond Scotland Yard. The Mayor's said he is committed to maintaining police numbers above thirty two thousand throughout his 2nd term at CIty Hall. But with savings of three quarters of a billion pounds having to be found by the end of next year, it’s a policy that may yet prove impossible to fulfill.
Join Iain Dale from 10am on Sunday when he’ll be asking what the implications for public safety are as Scotland Yard faces up to life after the Olympics.