Federation challenges police leader's rest day claim
Met Police Federation members working rest days which are subsequently cancelled is not how the Met will work in the future a senior police leader has told politicians.
MPs at the London Assembly quizzed Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt about the backlog of rest days, believed to number around 190,000.
It’s a figure the Metropolitan Police Federation says is much higher at around 220,000 rest days owed.
Police Oracle reports that Assistant Commissioner Hewitt told the Assembly that the massive backlog of days is not the ‘new norm’.
He was specifically asked whether the new violent crime taskforce would be reliant on using officers on rest days.
Explaining it had been an extraordinary year due to three terror attacks in the capital and the Grenfell Tower disaster, the Assistant Commissioner said: “I would be lying if I said we’re not under pressure, because we have been now for a considerable period with just the sheer tempo of operational activity that’s required.
“To suggest the work of the taskforce is reliant on cancelled days is not true, although I know there’s been stories around leave being cancelled.
“There are times when we need to do it but it’s not a routine thing,” he stressed.
“Our people need to get time off, they need time to defuse from what they are doing at work – it’s not sensible for us to burn people out.”
Police Oracle says its own figures reveal that the force has been functioning against the backdrop of cancelled rest days for years, dating back to the 2012 London Olympics.
Met Police Federation Chairman Ken Marsh puts the figure at around 220,000 rest days being owed to members, a number he ‘can’t see’ reducing soon.
“It’s all well and good saying it’s not the new normal, but Donald Trump is arriving soon for which they will need officers. They’ll cancel rest days as that’s what they do.
“If a major incident occurs next week and they need officers they will cancel rest days,” he told the magazine.
“I’m not criticising management – we haven’t got enough officers.”
The maximum holiday officers can earn is 31 days annual leave plus Bank Holidays. However, with Boroughs preventing no more than 10% of officers being off at any one time, it’s mathematically impossible for everyone to take what they are owed, he pointed out.
“The Home Secretary says there’s another 1,000 officers on the streets but what he’s done is called in 1,000 rest days.
“It’s impacting on officer sickness and mental health.”