Mayor and Commissioner mark recruitment milestone for Met Police
• Officer numbers rise to highest levels in three years • Proportion of BME officers has risen 50 percent since Mayor elected • Proportion of female officers jumps from 20 to 26 percent
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, have marked a significant recruitment milestone for London’s police force as officer numbers reach a three year high with more women and BME candidates joining the force than ever before.
Pledging to keep officer numbers in London high at or around 32,000, the Mayor also shares an ambition with the Commissioner to create a police force that looks like and feels more like London.
The Met’s major recruitment plan – made possible by the Mayor’s budget and ongoing reforms and efficiency savings, including the sale of underused police buildings such as the New Scotland Yard building in Victoria last year for £370m – remains on track to recruit 5,000 new constables by 2016, at a time when most other forces across the country have seen major reductions in officer numbers.
With almost 3,000 new constables already through training the latest round of graduates is set to push the number of officers working across London to 31,955, the highest numbers since the 2012 Olympics.
This year’s budget allows the Met to maintain this force strength with an average of 160 new recruits scheduled to join the force each month from July 2015. Crime continues to fall in the capital, down 19 percent since 2012 across seven key neighbourhood crimes, and the Mayor and the Commissioner want to create a police force that reflects and understands London’s diversity so it can continue to effectively police a growing metropolis.
Over the last few years the Met has been making steady progress to deliver this more diverse force and the introduction of London only recruitment for new applicants in August last year has had a significant impact. Data out today shows that since 2008, the proportion of BME officers in the Met has risen from eight to 12 per cent of all officers, and more than one in four officers are now female, compared to one in five in 2008.
This compares to a similar urban force like the West Midlands where BME officer representation is eight percent. Of the recruits who have passed entry tests and gone on to start training in February this year, the female intake was 29 percent and the BME intake was 17 percent.
Among those expressing an interest in joining the force the impact of London-only recruitment is more pronounced with on average 35 percent of ‘expressions of interest’ coming from BME candidates and 28 percent from female candidates, all of whom live in the Greater London area.
Speaking at Hendon where he attended the passing out parade for over 200 of these latest recruits the Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “London is one of the most diverse cities in the world and we are now beginning to see the creation of a police force that truly reflects the city that it serves.
By taking tough decisions on the budget we’ve been able to recruit additional officers and put more of them out on the streets, driving down crime and keeping Londoners safe. There’s more to be done but with more officers from every community in the capital, using the best technology we can provide I believe we are well on the way to creating the force we need to tackle 21st century crime and protect London for years to come.”
The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said: "Today we're celebrating reaching the target we set of 32,000 officers, the most we've had since the Olympics.
"Other forces have had to cut their numbers but the Met has worked hard to find savings and protect the frontline. "This will continue to be our approach.
"I'm pleased to have more officers from minorities joining the Met and pleased by the rise in female officers too. We'll keep working hard to reflect the London we serve."
Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Stephen Greenhalgh said: “Every other major force is having to cope with fewer officers but in London we chose to put bobbies before buildings and that has given us the resources to recruit thousands more officers to police our growing city. The early impact of London-only recruitment has been very positive and means we are on our way to building a more diverse Met that understands far better the city it serves. Keeping officer numbers high has taken some tough decisions but we have now got 2,600 more officers deployed into neighbourhoods to fight crime and serve the public.”
Notes to editors
* The Mayor and the Commissioner attended the passing out parade for 216 new officers at Hendon Police Training College. 206 are from external recruitment and 10 are conversions from the Metropolitan Special Constabulary (MSC) and in this class of 216, 18% are BME and 35% are female.
* The Mayor pledged in his 2012 manifesto to keep officer numbers high, at or around 32,000. At the end of February total officer numbers will be 31,818 climbing to 31,955 by April 1st The Mayor’s budget 2015/16 allows the MPS to maintain headcount at or around 32,000 until April 2016
• Since April 2014 there have been 2,722 new police constable recruited. • Over 1,000 recruits are currently in training, with more expected in the coming months.
* The make-up of Police Community Support Officers and volunteer Special Constables continues to reflect London’s diversity. At the end of February 36 percent of PSCO’s were female and 36 percent were from BME communities. Among Specials 32 percent were female and 30 percent were from BME communities
* In his 2012 Police and Crime Plan the Mayor challenged the Met Police to reduce seven key neighbourhood crimes - burglary, vandalism (criminal damage), theft from and theft of motor vehicles, violence with injury, robbery and theft from the person - by 20 per cent.