Metropolititan Police commissioner Sir Mark Rowley says the force has roughly 100 officers who are not trusted to speak to the public – describing the situation as “completely mad”. The recently appointed police chief made his candid admission during an interview on BBC Radio Four’s flagship Today programme in which he admitted the Met is saddled with hundreds of officers who were “letting us down”.
Sir Mark, who has more than 43,000 officers and other paid staff at his disposal, has been pushing for new powers to allow force bosses to reopen misconduct cases.
He previously estimated hundreds of officers on the force have been getting away with misconduct or criminal behaviour – but has no way of sacking them.
More than 500 officers could not currently be deployed because of ongoing misconduct allegations, Sir Mark said.
Less than one of officers with multiple misconduct cases against them have been dismissed, a report on the Met’s disciplinary systems published last month found.
In addition, the paper warned the bar for what constitutes gross misconduct – a sackable offence – is too high.
Speaking this morning, Sir Mark admitted it was “perverse” that he was unable to sack problematic officers.
The Met has “tens of thousands of great officers who are doing amazing things day in and day out for London”, he stressed.
However he admitted that there were “hundreds of people who are letting us down and I’m trying to sort out”, saying: “We’re looking at whether we’ve got any new legal levers, but on the conventional approaches we can’t.”
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Referring to recent remarks by Suella Braverman, he explained: “We’re getting more assertive and creative in our use of existing powers but I have been encouraged by the Home Secretary and the Home Office’s enthusiasm to look again at regulations to give us powers to move more quickly against officers who we shouldn’t have.
“I have got about 100 officers in the organisation who have very restrictive conditions on them because frankly we don’t trust them to talk to members of the public.
“It’s completely mad that I have to employ people like that as police officers who you can’t trust to have contact with the public. It’s ridiculous.”
Asked if the force has been able to get rid of any of them, he said: “We’re looking at whether we’ve got any new legal levers but on the conventional approaches we can’t. It’s perverse, isn’t it?”
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Earlier this month, Sir Mark said “a big proportion” of officers in his force are “not properly deployable” due to health and performance issues.
On Thursday, he said ten percent of the Met’s workforce cannot be fully deployed for reasons ranging from medical problems to ongoing misconduct investigations.
He said: “It’s not just an integrity issue; it actually goes to the ability to serve the public if you’re restricted in how you can deploy your resources when we’re very busy.”
Sir Mark was appointed to the top post of the UK’s biggest police force after the resignation of predecessor Cressida Dick earlier this year.
Dame Cressida stepped down following a wave of scandals including the murder of Sarah Everard by serving officer Wayne Couzens and racist and homophobic texts which were sent by officers mainly based at Charing Cross Police station.