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Why Won’t Londoners Join The Met Police?

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Last updated on September 19th, 2023 at 05:36 pm

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Recruitment into any Police Force has been a nightmare since 2010.  Cuts in the name of #Austerity have both slowed (or reversed) recruitment, and introduced an element of uncertainty as to the suitability of Policing as a long term career.

Of all the 43 Forces the Met was possibly best protected from the most savage of cuts and until relatively recently was not too badly off.

Met Police

Well, now they’re recruiting again, and they want 1,000 more Constables (yes, 1,000)

They’re certainly selling it, it sounds such a fantastic opportunity that I might apply myself, but I’m still waiting for that letter to drop through my letterbox inviting me back, but I suspect that it has got lost in the post. (Not a jest by the way, those letters are going out)

met police


At the Met, our police training is world class. And from the moment you join, this is exactly what you’ll receive – developing your skills and experience to become a substantive police constable. This includes a 12-week foundation training course, and patrols alongside experienced officers. In your career here, you’ll get plenty of opportunities to continue your professional development. This could take you in any number of career directions, such as detective roles, child safeguarding, firearms, counter terrorism, financial investigation or cybercrime. In fact, as the UK’s largest police service, the Met gives you the chance to enjoy a rewarding career full of variety – only found by being in one of the world’s most populated and diverse cities.

However, it seems that Londoners aren’t too keen on joining the Met. Some time ago the Met made it a prerequisite of joining that a) You could speak a second language, and b) that you had lived in London for 3 years out of the past 6. Well, no longer.

In the current ad there is no mention of a second language and the ‘residency’ condition has been ‘temporarily suspended’

To make London the safest city in the world, we also have to understand it. We ordinarily have a residency criteria that means our Police Constables need to have lived in London for a minimum of three years, within the last six. We are temporarily extending the opportunity to join the Met and ‘Do Something Real’ to non-Londoners, as part of our drive to recruit more than 2,500 officers. This provides a real opportunity for those living outside of London to fulfil their ambition of working for the Met. This will be a time limited opportunity, and will run in parallel to our existing drive to encourage more Londoners to join.

I note in the paragraph above that they want to recruit 2,500 extra officers. Where on earth are they going to come from? Is this ‘time limited’ offer a chance to join before Graduate/Apprenticeship entry becomes mandatory (at a much lower salary than the £30k package quoted in the advert)

You’ll start with a salary package of circa £30k inclusive of allowances

They want to recruit 2,500 extra officers? How has recruitment gone over the past few years?

met police

They want to recruit 2,500? They have never achieved that in a single year in recent times? Graduate/Apprenticeship Entry will be on us soon. Will they achieve it?

As an aside to all of this, but extremely important in my view is the subject of Student Loan Debt associated with Graduate Entry. It obviously won’t apply to the Apprenticeship route, but those joining as Graduates will have accumulated, possibly, many thousands of pounds worth of Student Loan Debts. As a Police Service it is important to keep our officers away from the temptation of the evil that is Corruption? Does being 10s of thousands of pounds in debt help this aim? Personally I don’t think it does. I think it’s an awful situation to put young officers in. The starting salary is just high enough to ensure that Student Loan repayment is triggered, but not high enough to be able to afford it.

More importantly – Why don’t Londoners want to join the Met? If the residency criterion has been ‘suspended’ this surely means that not enough Londoners are applying. Why not?

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