Met Police short of 1,000 officers as force admits it faces an uphill battle to recruit quality candidates
The Met Police is set to be short of more than 1,000 officers this year, the force has said, amid an ongoing crisis in public trust and confidence.
Officer numbers will be down by around 1,060 less than the target strength of 34,490, the Met Police has told City Hall.
It comes as new commissioner Sir Mark Rowley is aiming to clean up the force’s culture and standards, following the series of scandals which saw Dame Cressida Dick quit the top job.
Disgraced officers include now-jailed killer Wayne Couzens who abducted and murdered Sarah Everard in 2021 and serial rapist and abuser David Carrick who was revealed to be one of Britain’s worst sex offenders during a decades-long career in the Met Police.
High levels of misconduct and perceptions among the public may be a factor in dissuading high quality candidates from wanting to join the Met Police.
Recruiters need “to do something significantly different” to attract enough applicants, the force wrote to the London Assembly policing committee, while targets are monitored weekly.
Sir Mark warned earlier this year Londoners could expect to see “two or three” officers facing court each week as the force aims to root out those who should never have passed vetting.
The Met’s professional standards team also has around 83 vacancies and is not expected to be fully staffed until May, the Met Police wrote.
Of this year’s recruitment target of 4,077, the force says it has hit 80 per cent – or 2,794 officers recruited with an additional 478 due to join intakes.
If the target had been hit, it would have seen officer numbers reach 35,550.
Susan Hall, City Hall Conservatives group leader, said: “Sadiq Khan is in charge of policing in London and it is his responsibility to get the force out of special measures and back on the beat.
“The mayor has received generous funding from the government to recruit new police officers.
“He must put that money to good use, while maintaining the high recruitment standards that the Met Police needs.”
Sir Mark has previously said recruitment is a priority for the force and that is it important to “bring the right people in to the Met Police, in alignment with our mission to bring more trust, less crime, high standards”.
Sadiq Khan has been contacted for comment.