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Should Met recruits work first 200 hours for free?

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Guy Smith | 13:47 UK time, Monday, 21 June 2010

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More than a thousand applicants have been told they have "no realistic prospect" of becoming police officers any time soon despite getting through all the Met's recruitment stages.

Why? Well, simply there are not enough current officers leaving the service.

The Met overestimated the number of vacancies coming up and so the unfortunate would-be recruits have been left to find new careers.

A statement from the Met reads:

"Unfortunately, the lead in time meant that these applications had been received before the downturn in retirements and resignations materialised and before we could turn off the taps."

The 1,200 candidates have been telephoned and sent letters confirming the news.

Meanwhile, there are plans for a major change in how the Met recruits new officers in the future.

I've just read a document that will be presented to the Metropolitan Police Authority this Thursday (June 24, 2010).

Special Constables could soon become the "principal point of recruitment".

Traditionally, you'd go through a 25 weeks of training on full pay. The new criteria will mean you have to be a Special Constable first and then pass law and policing exams.

What's the good news?

This will apparently save around £20,000 per recruit in salaries because the special constable would be doing the job for free.

The Met also thinks there would be less chance of the prospective officer dropping out as they would already have had a real taste of policing the capital.

And the hope is the new model will attract a more diverse recruit - more women and more officers from an ethnic minority - which the Met desperately needs.

Currently, almost a third of the 3,300 specials are black or Asian, and 30 per cent are women.

So what's the bad news? Well, the Police Federation is concerned.

Pete Smyth from the Met's Police Federation branch questioned how many people would want to do 200 hours unpaid as a Special with no guarantee of a job at the end.

He also said there would be issues over diversity because women with children would have to work voluntarily on top of childcare and other paid work.

So what do you think? Is this a good move or not? Is this just a step away from the American model where in some states you have to pay for your training?

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    This sounds like value for money in general terms, but having worked with Special Constables for many years, the public and the service the Met will offer will suffer from a lack of adequately trained and professional officers who can deal with their problem, or crime there and then, without having to call for assistance of a fully trained officer.

    The Special constabulary has its place in the police service and offers valuable people from the community, opportunities to give something back, true community policing. These individuals provide valuable support to the modern service and their counterparts, the regular officers who perform the role 24/7 - 365. There are always duties that a special constable can and should perform which naturally free's up regular officers to perform the routine core business role that the public needs and demands of its service.

    The METS drive is to have at least 150 special constables in each London Borough, in place to support deployments and duties around the Olympics, but in real terms they are far short of the targets because of the demands of employers and other opportunities which are frankly more attractive to young people from all walks of life.

    Policing is a valuable and sometimes rewarding job, I joined the service to help people and do a job that I wanted to do. With constant changes in policy and law's which are brought in, on an apparent whim! The current service is always trying to catch up. After Hendon training is virtually non existant and you are expected to find time in our busy days to sit behind a computer and complete a training package which frankly teaches you nothing in an enviroment which is not compatable with training and development.

    I personally fear that we will be reducing our standards to meet targets of recruitment to satisfy our masters, who frankly are out of touch with society and real life and street policing. We will successfully recruit and develop officers who are naturals, but with them, will come the weak and inadequate individuals who want free travel to comfortably work and play in London. The community deserves the best officers possible with professional training and a natural rank structure that promotes personal ability and atributes which can equate to good policing, rather than the current culture of developing pointless inpractical projects and abstracted wasted time away from real policing just to get the evidence for the next and next rank. Many Met Constables are natural leaders but with the current hurdles and development voids they are unable to achieve the next rank and this is not in my opinion investing in people. Therefore I fear that with all the bad points the Met currently has, I cannot see how this new method of recruitment is going to help the service and ultimately the public in the long term.

    I support special constables and have some fine officers working with me. Time is investment, time is money and time gains experience, these are the obvious difficulties in this kind of recruitment and I would expect that serious MSC recruits would have to perform at least 600 hours a year over three years to claim to be comfortable as a professional constable, without the physical need for regular supervision. I am just a small cog in a very big wheel, but what do I know? I hope my comments are taken as constructive and not inflamatory.

  • Comment number 2.

    I received the phone call and letter about a week ago. I am an ex-Royal Marines commando and a former hostile environment close-protection officer. I am a lifelong martial artist who is confident of disarming people without hurting them. I am a graduate, have held a Queen's Commission, have led men in combat and in peacekeeping operations. I have already been given training appropriate to a disciplined force including dress and drill standards, rules for the use of force, questioning techniques, skill-at-arms, advanced driving, security risk assessments, leadership and management, strategic studies, radio communications, battlefield trauma/first responder etc etc.
    I am PROVEN in these abilities in the service of my country already! Tell me why for the love of God I should have to endure an application process which takes none of my skills and experiences into account, but would instead judge my suitability on the colour of my skin and where I choose to put my penis. Neither of which have any bearing on the job. I am no rascist, and have been proud to serve alongside people from many different backgrounds, moreover my daughter is half Chinese, my wife is Chinese, and the man I call my Master is also Chinese.
    Our Chinese family, for the record, cannot believe that this is happening... shame I don't have a Chinese passport; Their retiring military are treated with dignity and honour, ours have to lie about their sexuality to get a job.
    The only people left in three years time will be desperados with zero other prospects. Good luck to the serving boys and girls who have to lick those chimps into shape... I will not be among them as I have a family to support and cannot afford to work for nothing.

  • Comment number 3.

    I received the phone call and letter 2 weeks ago. I applied for the Met Police at the start of last year in January. My application was approved in April and I passed my day 1 on June 11th 2009 and day 2 on July 23rd 2009.I was told the next stage would be to wait for a start date as long as vetting and references where alright. Then, in January 2010 the letter came saying there was a pause on the recruitment, but would keep us updated if anything changes. I received a letter in April saying things were looking good and options were being made as to what could happen. So my hopes started to build up again of getting a start date soon. So I did not expect to receive that devastating phone call at the end of may telling me that my application had been taken back and I would have to be a Special Constable first...but there was not guarantee of becoming a Police Officer.

    I have always wanted to be a Police Officer from the age of 9 years old when 2 of my brothers first joined the Met Police. They and their wifes are still serving as a Police Officer in the Met. I have been a Police Cadet for 2 years from the age of 18 yrs - 20 yrs. I am a graduate and have worked since the age of 16 years old, even participating in voluntary work. I passed day 1 with 59% and day 2 (fitness) was passed first time round. I have been finding it very difficult to find any sort of job since graduating in July 2009 and now am only on 25 hours per week. So therefore, I was extremely excited at the prospect of starting full time work as a Metropolitan Police Officer. I therefore, now, have no choice but to join as a Special Constable and hope that I get offered a regular Police Officer role...even though there are no guarantees of this. I feel I have been let down and upset with the way we have been treated!!

  • Comment number 4.

    As one who has endured 22 months of gross incompetence by the Met Police recruitment team I was not surprised to receive my call last week to say my application had been discontinued. It seems an eternity since I applied, completed my two days of assessments and have been sitting in wait for the news of a start date.

    I was offered a start date in May 2009, which was subsequently withdrawn due to 'administrative error' and received no such positive news since this time.

    The 'woe is me' starts and ends there as I have been lucky enough to be working in an area I enjoy for the duration of the last two years and will continue to do so. My heart goes out to those who have not been so lucky in gainful employment whilst waiting for the call from the Met.

    To be told that, your application is no longer being processed...but you can come and work for the Met for free is a bit of a kick in the teeth.

    Indeed, join as a Special Constable and you will be first in line when the recruitment window opens again (up to 2 years I was told). I only wish I had the time and resources to work for free in the hope of starting gainful employment with this institution at some, as yet unknown, point in the future. We can read that overtime payments have doubled in the last 10 years for the Police in England and Wales to £450 million.

    The original blog states, the Met can save up to £20,000 per candidate. Therein lies a huge motivation for the Met to halt recruitment indefinitely.

    The Met have signed an early agreement with Capgemini to continue the outsourcing of IT for £190 million. Scotland Yard's new efficiency computer system (designed to transform Human Resources for the Met) is £10 million over budget at £48 million.

    Scotland Yard has been instructed to find £80 million in savings over the next 3 years in Senior Officers and backroom staff.

    You don't need people when you have IT..!!

  • Comment number 5.

    Shark999: Thank you for your insight as a serving police officer. Clearly, many of the 1200 applicants are very unhappy indeed with the recruitment process and feel let down. You only have to look at the comments that are starting to come in on the blog. If you could give them any advice, I'm sure they would appreciate it coming from someone who has the depth of knowledge and experience of being on the inside.

  • Comment number 6.

    This is what the Metropolitan Police HR director Martin Tiplady said in Personnel Today: "I'm sorry it's happened. We're working about a year in advance, but our attrition rates started to take a real decrease. What you don't want to do is react to a blip. When we were sure the blip was a trend, we took action.

    "Much as I understand the difficulty we've created, we can't keep people in the system because we simply can't give them dates. [The applicant] who says [he may have to wait] two years may well be right - it may be even longer. We took early action to stop further names getting into the system, but I want to make it clear that we haven't withdrawn any offers."


  • Comment number 7.

    The main problem here is not so much the recruitment process - which is obviously a total mess - but the fact that Specials have a long history of being treated wtih utter contempt by most Forces.

    I have been a Special in two forces both of who demostrated, in spades, their inability to train specials post-foundation level, not allocate them the appropriate equipment to do the job (such as being made to share a radio!), no focus on professional development and generally being treat SCs like pond life.

    I was very much up for joining the Regular Force; my experience as a Special put me off, as I have no intention of working for a service that is riddled with poor management, political footballs and lazy officers who do the bare minimum to get by on account of there being zero chance of them being fired.

    The police is not an employer of choice; it has always taken a "bums on seats" approach to recruitment. Testament to that is that fact that I spent many a shift working with people who could barely read and write. And they could have been the very first officer that a victim of a serious crime could be presented with!

  • Comment number 8.

    Guy, the Met's HR Director does not know me or pretend to understand the difficulties which his department has caused my family. I was told last year that I could reasonably expect a start date which may be as late as April 2011, and have that in writing.

    Their last letter states that I have three options.
    1. Discontinue with my application.
    2. Transfer to another force. (an empty gesture; they know better than I that no other force is recruiting... as if we wouldn't check!!).
    3. Become a Special and they will keep my application open.

    The subtext reads that if I don't choose option 2 or 3, they will assue I have opted for option 1.
    I have been told that in my case the wait would be 3 years, and that the Day 1 and Day 2 Assessments are only valid for 2 years.

    In other words the letter might as well just say, I know we said you can be a copper, well you still can be... if you are fortunate enough to have the time to do it for free for 3 years as an extra condition of entry!

    Ok, they may not have WITHDRAWN an offer of employment, but in practise their revised offer amounts to become a special or get lost.

    I have been treading water in my career for the last year awaiting a dud start gun. My career and my family are already suffering. Cheers for that exercise in semantics Mr Tiplady, and congratulations on showing off the calibre of your arse-covering. Pathetic.

  • Comment number 9.

    On paper this new shake up of the Mets recruit training programme is a good idea as it gives people an opportunity to gain some experience and get an insight into the job, not to mention saving a lot of money. However in my opinion as an officer the question has to be at what cost? The reality is that by making all recruits endure 200+ hours of unpaid work you are arguably diluting the service that we provide because specials just don't receive enough training. That is not to say that there are not some excellent special constables out there but talking in general terms they just aren't as well equipped to do the job as regular police constables who have completed 6 months of training and work in their role full time.

    Also there is the obvious problem for prospective recruits that there are only 24 hours in a day, making it rather difficult to hold down a regular job whilst coping with home/personal life commitments AND working for the Met for free in the hope of getting a full time position with no guarantee. I believe this will serve to alienate prospective candidates who may be perfect for the job but just cannot afford to work for free alongside another job, be it for financial or home life constraints.

    I'll stop there as there is little point in re-hashing everything shark999 has said but he has made some excellent points.

  • Comment number 10.

    Ex-Bootneck: Thank you for commenting. I'm curious what exactly your letter promised. As you mention, it's not an offer of a job otherwise (and I'm not a lawyer) one would imagine the Met could be in hot water in terms of employment law.

  • Comment number 11.

    The Met HR department denies there's a recruitment freeze.
    It says: “We are still recruiting, we are just not accepting further applications at this time. This is because there are many fewer officers leaving the MPS than expected. We are personally contacting each candidate to explain that we have many more candidates than vacancies. This will not always be the case. However, it is unfair to keep individuals in the recruitment system when there is little prospect of them being able to join in the foreseeable future.”
    The HR spokesman says the Met is offering guidance to applicants regarding potential careers in Policing, and telling them that being a Special is an option.
    And asked when the Met became aware of the situation, the Met reply was this:
    "As soon as we identified the issue last year, we took immediate action to stop additional applications. Most of the individuals affected now applied in response to campaigns that occurred well over a year ago and which attracted unprecedented interest."

  • Comment number 12.

    Guy, that the Met states they have not withdrawn any offers is of comfort to only a small percentage of the total waiting in line (some 2,000 was the regular figure banded about over the last year).

    From September 2009 it was becoming clear that 'start dates' were becoming rarer than hen's teeth. In October 2009 I was told that the start dates would be between January 2010 and June 2010.

    In December 2009, I received a telephone call to say more information would be given in a letter (a pointless call!). This arrived some six weeks later to state that revised dates for admission were June 2010 to April 2011. Of course, now this is not the case.

    As one who has been waiting for the magical date since May 2009 I would question how many firm offers of start dates have been made and when those few will expect to start.

    Day One Assessment results are valid for only one year officially. Those who have offers and are still waiting will find they have to resit.

    A large part of the Met recruitment is outsourced, I would suggest that the last 12 months are a clear indication that outsourcing such a crucial fuction does not work.

  • Comment number 13.

    Guy, I recieved the same letter that Ex-Bootneck recieved too saying about the 3 options. It is totally unfair. The letter also states that if you do Special Constables then you day 1 will stay as valid and you will not have to retake...no matter how long it takes to become a regular Police Officer. But now I have heard from other people that the Met are not recruiting probably until 3 years time and after 2 years your day 1 runs out and you have to retake it again! I don't understand how letters can say one thing and then another thing is said. Totally and utterly unfair. I am left in complete limbo over what to do as if my day 1 is not valid after 2 years and I have to retake it again anyway then pointless becoming a Special! I am sure somewhere in employment law this would be classed as totally wrong!!

  • Comment number 14.

    Guy,

    I have the letter in front of me dated 5 October 2009.

    "This means that you may experience an extended period of waiting before we can offer you a start date as a Police Constable. This may be as far ahead as April 2011. I understand that this will be disappointing news to you. However, I thought it best to write with a realistic timescale."

    If they are in breach of employment law, then that is interesting in that it would add to the mounting charges of incomptence. However, I am not interested in a no win/no fee legal payout but rather in doing the job that I had set my sights on. Call me old fashioned but the something for nothing litigation culture makes me sick. I want to be a Police Officer and serve my fellow subjects, that's all.

    I wonder if the people responsible for this shambles are still sitting comfortably in their jobs; where is the accountability? How come other employers don't over recruit by literally thousands. Staggering that they got it wrong by a margin of three years.

  • Comment number 15.

    I thought I would revisit my previous post. I have taken on board what people have posted and will try to outline my personal, I must stress that this personal take on the situation. I don’t claim to speak formerly for the MPS. I have a interest in this subject and feel that as a private citizen I have valued points to make.

    Specials will give you an insight into the service. Not the whole service because it is vast, and those with years of experience and knowledge don't know what other areas of policing do. I have tried to keep this basic otherwise I will be typing too much.

    Specials are an asset and I have already mentioned that they have a valuable place in modern policing of London and other areas of the country.

    Specials are the last of the true volunteers and give us even more time in their busy lives beyond the 200 hours. But with this in mind, this is not enough in the current MPS training and development process to become a professional officer within , let’s say three years.

    I have mentioned that the met is poor in development and training. This is also highlighted by its recruitment process.

    It’s a shame that those PCSO's and others who have been accepted but not given any potential start date within 12 months, is frankly appalling, and those responsible should be held to account for lack of leadership and foresight and management of the whole process.

    Also those PCSO's who have been informed during their initial PC application a few years ago, that the development opportunity were to become a PCSO and then you will become a Constable later on, should be sacked. No such indication should be given, if people were not suitable to become a constable,(for whatever reason they had at that time), then they should not have given them false hope that doing the PCSO route would assure them success. PCSO role is specific, it does not give those officers the absolute right to apply within and become a constable. Let us not forget that some people don't even make the grade during training and are advised or forced to resign. Some leave because they don't realise that police do nights and early's, Shocking I know but there have been people who found this out at HENDON. Some PCSO’s don’t make the Grade at Borough level and in my opinion their Hendon Training is inadequate and not fit for purpose.

    PCSO's are the natural inbuilt pool of resources that the met had to recruit from. They have been intrusively supervised by Sgt's and Constables and have demonstrated their ability to perform community work and general policing duties, whilst not the holder of a warrant.

    There are some exceptional PCSO's and frankly I have had two who have become constables and currently have three who would perform the role with ease, however I am aware of the horrors also who frankly should not be representing the MPS in any uniform.

    Specials also should not expect to be fast tracked into becoming full time officers. But they should be accredited naturally on their abilities displayed, performance, and suitability to become a constable (regular) and this process should be supported by a PDR A4 summary from their LM and 2nd LM and this is the valuable ticket to join full time. This will in its self fast track those identified suitable for regular constable, surely regular officers who are working with these special officers are in the best position to mentor and develop those and obviously identify them for fast track process, rather than an application process which is read or not read by a HR recruitment officer who may or may not have an relevant experience of police work!!! Food for thought.
    This should also be adopted for the PCSO process but have a additional process in their role to help them gain valuable insight and experience in areas of work not normally performed by them. E.g. Crime reporting, Front office attachments, Custody and BIU intel attachments. When or if they display an aptitude for these engagements then it should be reflected in the supervisors PDR report and evidence the suitability of the officer. This will cut out the extra process at stage one and two and fitness can be arranged at borough level prior to any formal start date at Hendon. Quick efficient and identifying those early. There is a large proportion of PCSO’s who don’t want to become constables and enjoy their role at CSO level. So we need to put in place development opportunities for those who do.

    I think the MPS has panicked and needs more officers within its ranks but cannot afford to recruit. Therefore I think their rationale is: let’s give options to those who have passed. Let’s change the direction and make MSC the only route in for those who want to join. Let’s keep them on the MSC books for as long as possible and retain our numbers for deployment on the Olympics. When Olympics has finished and more money is coming in we can open up the doors again. You may think my observation merits some truth. The Met or HR are not going to show their cards and be transparent, I know I would not, in their position so why should they.

    I think, we should value the Specials and offer them incentives for their contribution. If you are a TAVR soldier then you would get paid, so why not the specials. It could be a basic rate of pay, let’s say £7 ph. With an annual Bonus of 1000 per year, if you complete 300 hrs or more and all the NCALT training packages and achieved the allocated development objectives for that year,set by your LM. They have to be SMART.

    For those who would not work for free, well you will be showing your commitment to joining the service full time. The Met will be rewarding and helping you support yourself and family, for the time you work, and let’s face it you could complete more than 300 hrs if you have more spare time, and potentially get the required skills earlier and be recommended earlier for Hendon. You are investing and the Met is investing in you. This will increase public confidence and give more value to the MSC and its officers. It will cut training costs overall because Hendon will not need to have so many staff and the training at Hendon could be reduced to potentially 6 weeks with continuation training at Borough on Live training.

    The points I am making is please whinge about the process, I have had my fair share of whinges in my service, but this makes you hate it and can have a devastating effect on your personal and professional outlook and life. Chill over it, jump over the hurdles and seek alternative options. I think personally it’s a smoke screen that the Met has developed to recruit MSC, but if it’s the only way to do the job you want to do, then find a way of working with it.

    I wish I could discuss this at NSY level, I think I could make a difference in attitudes. Also worthy of comment. The officer who has or is a special and found officers who could not write a sentence or spell and makes this an issue. I think in this day and age we offer or did offer opportunities to those who had difficulties in many areas of life. Academics don't necessarily equate to good officers. All have abilities at various levels. Also don't forget the regulars have far more paperwork to complete than Special constables as a matter of routine and daily business, which you may not have experienced or explored. Food for thought, regarding your obvious negative comments and experience.

    Enough said off to bed now! Hope this helps.

  • Comment number 16.

    I thought I would revisit my previous post. I have taken on board what people have posted and will try to outline my personal, I must stress that this personal take on the situation. I don’t claim to speak formerly for the MPS. I have a interest in this subject and feel that as a private citizen I have valued points to make.

    Specials will give you an insight into the service. Not the whole service because it is vast, and those with years of experience and knowledge don't know what other areas of policing do. I have tried to keep this basic otherwise I will be typing too much.

    Specials are an asset and I have already mentioned that they have a valuable place in modern policing of London and other areas of the country.

    Specials are the last of the true volunteers and give us even more time in their busy lives beyond the 200 hours. But with this in mind, this is not enough in the current MPS training and development process to become a professional officer within , let’s say three years.

    I have mentioned that the met is poor in development and training. This is also highlighted by its recruitment process.

    It’s a shame that those PCSO's and others who have been accepted but not given any potential start date within 12 months, is frankly appalling, and those responsible should be held to account for lack of leadership and foresight and management of the whole process.

    Also those PCSO's who have been informed during their initial PC application a few years ago, that the development opportunity were to become a PCSO and then you will become a Constable later on, should be sacked. No such indication should be given, if people were not suitable to become a constable,(for whatever reason they had at that time), then they should not have given them false hope that doing the PCSO route would assure them success. PCSO role is specific, it does not give those officers the absolute right to apply within and become a constable. Let us not forget that some people don't even make the grade during training and are advised or forced to resign. Some leave because they don't realise that police do nights and early's, Shocking I know but there have been people who found this out at HENDON. Some PCSO’s don’t make the Grade at Borough level and in my opinion their Hendon Training is inadequate and not fit for purpose.

    PCSO's are the natural inbuilt pool of resources that the met had to recruit from. They have been intrusively supervised by Sgt's and Constables and have demonstrated their ability to perform community work and general policing duties, whilst not the holder of a warrant.

    There are some exceptional PCSO's and frankly I have had two who have become constables and currently have three who would perform the role with ease, however I am aware of the horrors also who frankly should not be representing the MPS in any uniform.

    Specials also should not expect to be fast tracked into becoming full time officers. But they should be accredited naturally on their abilities displayed, performance, and suitability to become a constable (regular) and this process should be supported by a PDR A4 summary from their LM and 2nd LM and this is the valuable ticket to join full time. This will in its self fast track those identified suitable for regular constable, surely regular officers who are working with these special officers are in the best position to mentor and develop those and obviously identify them for fast track process, rather than an application process which is read or not read by a HR recruitment officer who may or may not have an relevant experience of police work!!! Food for thought.
    This should also be adopted for the PCSO process but have a additional process in their role to help them gain valuable insight and experience in areas of work not normally performed by them. E.g. Crime reporting, Front office attachments, Custody and BIU intel attachments. When or if they display an aptitude for these engagements then it should be reflected in the supervisors PDR report and evidence the suitability of the officer. This will cut out the extra process at stage one and two and fitness can be arranged at borough level prior to any formal start date at Hendon. Quick efficient and identifying those early. There is a large proportion of PCSO’s who don’t want to become constables and enjoy their role at CSO level. So we need to put in place development opportunities for those who do.

    I think the MPS has panicked and needs more officers within its ranks but cannot afford to recruit. Therefore I think their rationale is: let’s give options to those who have passed. Let’s change the direction and make MSC the only route in for those who want to join. Let’s keep them on the MSC books for as long as possible and retain our numbers for deployment on the Olympics. When Olympics has finished and more money is coming in we can open up the doors again. You may think my observation merits some truth. The Met or HR are not going to show their cards and be transparent, I know I would not, in their position so why should they.

    I think, we should value the Specials and offer them incentives for their contribution. If you are a TAVR soldier then you would get paid, so why not the specials. It could be a basic rate of pay, let’s say £7 ph. With an annual Bonus of 1000 per year, if you complete 300 hrs or more and all the NCALT training packages and achieved the allocated development objectives for that year,set by your LM. They have to be SMART.

    For those who would not work for free, well you will be showing your commitment to joining the service full time. The Met will be rewarding and helping you support yourself and family, for the time you work, and let’s face it you could complete more than 300 hrs if you have more spare time, and potentially get the required skills earlier and be recommended earlier for Hendon. You are investing and the Met is investing in you. This will increase public confidence and give more value to the MSC and its officers. It will cut training costs overall because Hendon will not need to have so many staff and the training at Hendon could be reduced to potentially 6 weeks with continuation training at Borough on Live training.

    The points I am making is please whinge about the process, I have had my fair share of whinges in my service, but this makes you hate it and can have a devastating effect on your personal and professional outlook and life. Chill over it, jump over the hurdles and seek alternative options. I think personally it’s a smoke screen that the Met has developed to recruit MSC, but if it’s the only way to do the job you want to do, then find a way of working with it.

    I wish I could discuss this at NSY level, I think I could make a difference in attitudes. Also worthy of comment. The officer who has or is a special and found officers who could not write a sentence or spell and makes this an issue. I think in this day and age we offer or did offer opportunities to those who had difficulties in many areas of life. Academics don't necessarily equate to good officers. All have abilities at various levels. Also don't forget the regulars have far more paperwork to complete than Special constables as a matter of routine and daily business, which you may not have experienced or explored. Food for thought, regarding your obvious negative comments and experience.

    Enough said off to bed now! Hope this helps.

  • Comment number 17.

    If there was a clear structure and path of progression to a paid job at the end of it (pending training and appropriate assessment of course) then I think its a marvellous idea for Met recruits to work the first year/200 hours for free. However this does not appear to be the case.

    One would imagine that recruitment might begin again following the olympics,so thats at least a two year wait. However I wouldn't expect that thousands of posts will suddenly become available so some may have to wait 3 or more years by the time the Met works through the back log. This also assumes that those who have shown the dedication by serving longest will be given priority otherwise who knows how long the Met would keep them working for free! Somewhat cynical perhaps? Given the evidence seems to indicate that Met recruitment is not a particularly well oiled machine and that this government wants to make such deep cuts to public spending then perhaps not.

    My main concern is that leading people along like this when there is no structured progression to the position of Police Constable is grossly unfair, especially for this group of recruits who are being turned away.
    As Ex-Bootneck points out, the options that current prospective candidates have been given seem to amount to "become a special or get lost". By extension this means, work as a Police officer for free or get lost, this is extremely wrong and very sad for many reasons.
    1. Quite simply this amounts to exploitation of the ambition and drive of these individuals.
    2. It tarnishes the charitable and noble nature of the voluntary position as it has now been reduced to almost-forced labour for these individuals who are chasing their dream.
    3. I worry that the financial disadvantage and lack of clear progression will deter potential candidates from becoming a special or being able to serve the necessary time as a special, further restricting the diversity of the recruitment pool. This surely needs to be as broad as possible to take in people from all walks of life.

    And many other reasons pointed out by my fellow contributors.

    I agree completely with shark999 that all Specials deserve some compensation, a part time wage would be a much better incentive than the promise of a job that may never appear. They are worth that surely and deserving of the support! In Northern Ireland part time Police Constables are paid a fair wage.

    Mainly though I think that the recent recruitment hopefuls have been seriously mismanaged, misinformed and now to top it all off they are having their arms twisted into working for free. What a horrible experience in trying to follow your dream! We risk alienating a lot of proven candidates and that is the real shame! I hope they keep working at it despite the obvious difficulties they have had to endure, and will continue to endure and I wish them all the best of luck!






  • Comment number 18.

    UPDATE: I've just come back from the police authority monthly meeting. The Met's head of HR Martin Tiplady spelt out two main reasons for the proposals: an estimated saving of £12 million a year on training recruits; recruits would "hit the ground running" after spending time as a Special. He said two thirds of the any intake would be from the Special Constabulary, the other third from Police Community Support Officers and graduates. (But that's sort of immaterial anyway because currently they're not taking on many newcomers.) Many of the Conservative politicians put their hands up in favour, saying it was a creative, intelligent and helpful change. Others on the MPA voiced concerns about those on low incomes unable to afford the time to be a Special before applying to be a regular. Lib Dem member Dee Doocey proposed that the plan should not go ahead until there was a full consultation.

  • Comment number 19.

    Personal i believe we should follow the Way of america 4years
    Armed Service before you can apply for any job as a paramedic, Firefighter or Police officer. The Way we(uk) recuit is a Joke. If you want to be a Police officer you begin as a PCSO for a year on that pay, then move on to a special Constable at basic pay as a new PC for two years then if you are good enough you then move on.
    same as the other two most jobs have people that are unsuitable for those job's but because their faces fit they are good enough, I have passed exams for the LFB, but my face didnt fit, same with the Police, im in a Low paid job as a member of police staff and i am a special as i feel that it may help with my chances of getting in full time if thats not good enough then i would rather go and join the armed services/.

  • Comment number 20.

    I don't agree with the last post. Military service is a profession and a vocation for people. I don't agree with a comment from clearly a person who has not served. People join the military to be soldiers, sailors or air personnel. They don't join to develop a career path to the police or other services. I did'nt but after 8 years of regular Army service I wanted to take a chance of becoming a police officer, but that was my choice and it would be wrong for any police service to only give jobs to those who have served, it would alienate even more people.

    I think most people have lost the plot. Specials will continue, what ever is said, some people just want the thrill of the job without having to do it full time. This is also true with the TAVR. Free time is what you can spare and no more than that. There are plenty of people to take the opportunity to become specials and I as a regular thank them for their service and contribution to our work. If you have not got the time or ambition to do this then, move over and let those who want to!. I have outlined my points and concerns about pay, development and training. I think the met is setting it's self up to fail, by potentially only using specials for recruitment without the development opportunities I have already mentioned. Having worked with specials for many years they are valued, but the service in general terms has not got to grips on the issues I have raised. I have encouraged and developed my specials and one is being fast tracked to Hendon shortly and another is being recommended by me for Hendon. Some have not made the acceptable basic standard and I will continue to work and teach them but there must be a time when clearly they cease to be candidates or suitable for the regular role. Officers like me, front line should be the ones to identify those suitable, the days of filling in an application and a short interview should go and hands on work and aptitude should be the test and pass Go card in to the regular position.

    But without vision, innovation and leadership from the top, this will not happen and I think the community and service will ultimately suffer in the long run and the Met will look unprofessional and sorry in the media.

    I personally think that in 4 years time the PCSO will cease to exist and redundency's will be thick and fast. A Change of mind and attitude with the money saving Tories and with so much negative press from isolated stories across the country, has darkened the future of CSO's in their current form. There maybe an arguement to turn these officers into specials or warranted officers, but alot will leave if this happened, because they are happy to be PCSO's and don't like the paperwork we have to do. But to do this specials, would have to be paid. Like a previous comments, the RUC or NIPS, has a very large police service made up of contract officers on 3 year contracts, on a lessor full pay band, but in real terms Specials. This could be the way forward. After 3 years they can be assessed for regular service with all the trimmings.



 

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