There will be obvious references to the old TV series now that the Police service has officially announced they are asking retired officers to return. In order to assist in dealing with the crisis caused by Covid – 19, the largest UK Police service, the Metropolitan Police, has advertised for retired officers to return and support policing.
This is an unprecedented move in unprecedented times and maybe exemplifies the challenge that faces society and law enforcement. Personally, I think it is a sensible move by the Met and other forces have followed suit, if they believe they need the resilience provided by additional staffing levels. There are some strict criteria to meet and you need to have been retired between one month and five years to apply to return.
- Must have 30 years pensionable service.
- At least 1 month minimum & 5 years maximum retired from policing.
- Retired as Constable or Sergeant to apply – more senior ranks can return as a special constable. (That tells its own story!)
- Its designed as a fast track return process.
- You will be posted to a role/location that best suits your needs & abilities.
- The Met will try to ensure you receive appropriate training and able to be deployed as soon as possible.
- There is a minimum 6-month tenure.
- This is subject to satisfactory vetting.
- It is a full-time role – 40 hours per week.
There is some translation needed based on my experience & understanding of jargon used in Police job adverts. They will `try to ensure` you receive appropriate training – means be prepared to teach yourself on NCALT or just learn by doing it. The next is `you will be posted to role/location that suits your needs & abilities – means they will try to use your skills & locate you near to your home address but, as any serving or retired officer will tell you, you sign up to work anywhere in London and in any role the Met decides it needs you to perform.
Having said that, would I join again? Absolutely, and I know that there will be many who will do so but I also know quite a few that would not go near policing which makes me quite disappointed. You will often hear many serving and former officers describe policing as a family and it really is. You spend many hours and days with your colleagues, and some become as close if not closer than many of your own family. I do find it strange when former officers categorically state that they would not go near policing again, albeit some may have good reason to hold that view. I think that often, their anger or bitterness is primarily against the organisation itself and rarely against their colleagues who they still hold in high esteem.
The Police service is a very hard task master and employer, it demands almost total loyalty and service and often to the detriment to your personal life and well- being. If you delve deeper into those who categorically state they would not go back, then it is often because a department or senior manager did not treat them well. They would run towards danger for their colleagues but not for those above them or for the job itself.
Despite all that, I have taken four calls today from former colleagues who have all retired more than five years ago, who would join me again in policing the streets. One call started, `we are getting the band back together, you in? ` Another asked me what I fancied for my refs (refreshments) for late turn Saturday! I am still employed in a teaching role within policing which is likely to be essential in maintaining establishment numbers but anyone who returns has my full support and admiration.
When you leave Policing its often said you miss the circus but not the clowns – and its telling that the advert from the Met is directed at Constables & Sergeants, those who in the main, police the streets.
Maybe once we are out of this then Policing as a profession will take a long hard look at who exactly should be valued and recognised within its own organisation. Society also needs to re assess the workers and jobs that really are essential to its own well-being. Our NHS workers are heroes as are many delivery drivers and those in the food supply chain.
It is often said that Policing is a vocation, despite recent initiatives to suggest it should be just a career move or should initiate a `healthy churn` in staff turn- over.
The Policing family now need support and help and maybe not all, but many will answer the call to once again help and protect the public.
They are heroes and I am proud to be part of that family.