'Let me sack bad police officers quicker' says Met chief, with thousands of London cops simply not doing their jobs

19 November 2022, 07:13

Met Police chief Sir Mark Rowley has called for greater powers to sack bad police officers
Met Police chief Sir Mark Rowley has called for greater powers to sack bad police officers. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

London's police chief has called on the government to make it easier for the Metropolitan Police to sack underperforming officers, with one in ten unable to do their job properly.

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Sir Mark Rowley, Met police commissioner, said the process to get rid of police officers and other public servants was too bureaucratic.

Some 3,000 police officers are not working fully because of concerns over their performance, or mental or physical health reasons.

Another 500 are suspended or are on restricted duties after being accused of serious misconduct.

Police officers arrest an environmental protester during a demonstration
Police officers arrest an environmental protester during a demonstration. Picture: Getty

"We can’t deal with a workforce where such a big proportion are not properly deployable," Sir Mark told the Times.

"Many of these people, they can’t work shifts, or they can’t work many hours in a day, or they can only have limited contact with the public, maybe because of anxiety-related issues.”

Sir Mark, who took up his job in September, said that the Met would always want to support staff who are having mental health problems or who are hurt in the line of duty.

Read more: 'I've shed a tear over misconduct report': Met chief Sir Mark Rowley says hundreds of officers should be sacked

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But he added: “There does come a point that, if you can’t be match fit to be a police officer, then it’s challenging for us in that it’s a large number of people we can’t properly deploy.”

He also wants to have greater powers to deal with racist or sexist police, following the Sarah Everard murder scandal last year.

But Sir Mark said that the Met's problems were not limited to those officers accused of serious misconduct, adding that it is also too hard for bosses to get rid of staff who are simply not good enough.

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The police currently have a drawn-out six-stage dismissal process in place, and only six police officers were fired last year for poor performance. But Sir Mark said his lawyers have advised him this could be curtailed.

He said: “Some of that performance is someone day to day doing a bad job, and some of it is people who aren’t fully deployable, who have had all the opportunities, all the support possible but it’s just not working.

“And we can’t as an organisation exist if we can’t deploy 10 or 20 per cent of our people.”

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Sir Mark said that he would set a date for the NHS and social services to manage cases that involve mental health issues, rather than police, freeing up his officers to focus on criminal activity.

He said: "We’re going to be much more focused about what really is the police work that we ought to be doing. There’s lots of work around crime that the police ought to be doing but aren’t.

"And at the same time, there’s lots of work that is health and social care work that others can do, and should be doing, that we’re doing instead. It’s not that those other areas aren’t important, but they’re not police work.”