Or is it?
I can’t begin to speak for the County Forces, I have absolutely no idea what their rules are or were. However, back in 1972 when I joined the Met I had no say in it, I simply HAD to live within a 25 mile radius of Central London. I can’t remember now whether it was Hyde Park Corner or Charing Cross, but there isn’t much difference.
It didn’t end there either. Once my family and I had found a house we would like to live in I had to submit a report to the Senior Management to obtain permission to live there. Partly to ensure that my choice of abode was within the dreaded circle, but also in order that the neighbours could be vetted, to ensure that I would not be living next to a drug dealer, murderer or bank robber etc. I understand why, I understand completely, but it completely rode roughshod over the rights and wishes of my wife and family.
Over the years the rules were relaxed and eventually officers were moving out of London for the more affordable accommdation available just a few miles outside, or maybe even as far away as the South Coast if you were really lucky.
Alongside the private sector there were alays Section Houses and a small number of flats for single officers, and a range of 2,3 or 4 bed Married Quarters for families.
Eventually, along came Boris, and to help the Met achieve its Austerity targets most, if not all, of the Section Houses and Married Quarters were sold off to property developers.
House prices in London, and private rentals, are now sky high, so now more than ever, officers are forced to live further and further away from London in order to find a reasonable house, at an affordable price, in a reasonable area.
Next hing we know we have Policy Exchange recommending that officers should live within the communities they Police. Forgetting the price of housing just for one second, why does the officer’s wife/husband/partner have no say in where they live? Why do their rights and expectations get absolutely squashed by the Police Service?
Police Officers and their families living on a Council Estate that they patrol during their working hours? What could possibly go wrong?
Today we have the press running a total non-story about Met Officers living in Cornwall, or even the South of France. So what? They don’t commute that journey every day.
Officers could,and probably would, live much closer to Londn if they could afford it. House prices have risen, officers’ take-home pay has decreased thanks to the May/Winsor coalition ‘Reforms’. Section Houses and Married Quarters are no longer an option. They have been sold off to the highest bidder.
The basic reasons for all of this can be traced back to Central Government, Boris and no doubt Police and Crime Commissioners across the land. Short-sighted, stupid, sucking up to May and Winsor? Who knows, but a disastrous policy that would have prevented mischievous headlines lke we saw today.
Police Officers’ partners, wives, husbands have rights. Ignore that at your peril