Met under pressure not to rehire retired officers with misconduct record

<span>Photograph: Neil Hall/EPA</span>
Photograph: Neil Hall/EPA

The Metropolitan police are under pressure to stop inviting back retired officers whoduring their career had action taken against them for misconduct.

Under a scheme to rehire recently retired officers to help plug gaps in the ranks of Britain’s largest force, 253 people who had action taken against them after misconduct proceedings have been asked to rejoin, along with 99 who retired while under investigation.

Police vetting has recently been criticised by the policing inspectorate, and the David Carrick scandal has intensified concerns about whether it can spot wrongdoers in uniform even when there have been repeated complaints against them.

A spokesperson for London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, said on Wednesday: “The mayor’s view is that no officers with misconduct proven against them during their career should return to the Met.”

The Times, which reported that more than 3,000 former officers had been written to, said the home secretary was also concerned.

The sanctions against the 253 officers are not known, but some may have received verbal warnings or words of advice. It is not known if any of the cases amounted to gross misconduct.

A freedom of information request found six former officers had taken up the offer to come back to the Met.

Last week, the Met commissioner, Mark Rowley, said the force would miss a recruitment target and fall “hundreds” short. Conditions in the London labour market are making hiring new officers difficult.

Khan’s spokesperson said: “The mayor is working closely with Sir Mark Rowley to rebuild public confidence and trust in the Met to ensure Londoners have the police service they deserve – one that is representative, trusted and delivers the highest possible service to every community in our city.

“Anyone returning to the Met under the enhanced returns scheme must undergo full vetting, including reference checks from previous line managers, and City Hall has further assurances from the Met that any officers returning will meet the high standards and values expected. We are confident that under Sir Mark Rowley this will be the case.”

The Met said: “As of December 2021, six people have returned to the Met under the enhanced return scheme. None of these officers had a live warning or were subject to misconduct proceedings at the time of being accepted back into the Met on this scheme.

“The enhanced return scheme aims to retain experienced police officers in the Met to ensure we maintain the right workforce balance as we continue to grow at pace. All eligible officers must complete an application form for the scheme and, should their application be successful, are invited to attend an interview and are subject to full vetting, including unsatisfactory police performance checks, medical clearance, and reference checks from previous line/senior managers.”