26% of police officers in North East London’s police forces now have less than two years’ experience, new analysis from Labour London Assembly Member Jennette Arnold OBE AM has revealed. The number of officers with less than two years’ experience across Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest has risen from 166 to 464 in the last three years. The increasing reliance of less experienced officers is putting significant pressure on the Met and could be contributing to a drop in the percentage of crimes which are being solved in the capital, Ms Arnold has warned.
Across London the number of sergeants in the Met has dropped from 6,069 in May 2010 to 3,072 in December 2015, while the number of officers with less than two years’ experience in London Boroughs soared from 1,706 to 5,005. In the last three years North East London has also seen an increase with464 of 1,789 officers now having less than two years’ experience.
The revelation comes only weeks after Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary warned that junior constables were being used to fill gaps in the detective ranks. The report raised concerns about the experience of some investigating officers saying an area the Met needed to improve was in “ensuring officers attending the scenes of crime are appropriately trained and equipped to record all available evidence.” Since 2010/11 the Met’s percentage of crimes solved has dropped from 24% to just 19% in 2015. Ms Arnold warned that the significant rise in new, less experienced officers could be contributing to the fall.
Whilst there was a need to rebalance the number of senior roles in the Met, the Local Policing Model which Boris Johnson introduced in 2011, appears to have gone too far. The Mayor’s changes have shifted much more responsibility onto newly qualified officers in an attempt to cut costs by overly reducing the number of higher paid officers.
Local London Assembly Member, Jennette Arnold OBE AM, said:
“There’s little doubt that a few years ago the Met was top heavy with too many senior officers but Boris Johnson’s push to cut them down has resulted in the balance going completely the other way.
“What should have been a gradual reduction in more senior posts instead looks like a rather steep decline with 26% of officers in Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest now having less than two years’ experience.
“Of course we want to see new blood in the Met, particularly if it helps to make the police to reflect the make-up of our local community. But such a dramatic loss of experienced officers puts far greater strain on supervisors and results in a brain drain of local knowledge. The only reason I can see for pushing this through so fast is to drive down costs by axing the more senior ranks. Our police officers do a fantastic job, often in very challenging circumstances, but it’s vital they get all the support they need.”
- The response to a Mayor’s Question detailing the number of officers with less than two years’ experience in London boroughs can be found here.
- A borough by borough analysis of the percentage of officers with less than two years’ experience can be found here.
- The number of Sergeants in the Met from 2010 – 2013 is taken from a Mayor’s question, and can be found here.
- The number of Sergeants in the Met from 2013 to the latest available data (December 2015) is provided by the Mayor’s Office of Policing and Crime and can be found here.
- The number of police officers per borough ae taken from the London datastore and can be found here.
- Data setting out the rate of solved crime can be found here.
- Jennette Arnold OBE AM is the London Assembly Member for North East (covering Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest)