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Commissioner's comments creating 'unfair narrative' says Fed Chair

Ken Marsh says Sir Mark Rowley's comments about officers who are not deployable have left those he represents at 'rock bottom'.

The Chairman of the Met Police Federation has criticised comments made by Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley about officers who are not fully deployable, arguing that he has created an "unfair narrative" which has good officers fearing for their jobs.

Ken Marsh was responding to comments, made by Sir Mark Rowley across multiple interviews, in which he airs his frustration at the workforce issues within the Met.

The Commissioner told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme this morning (November 24) that there are about 100 officers in the organisation who have "very restrictive conditions on them because frankly we don’t trust them to talk to members of the public".

This follows a recent interview with The Times in which Sir Mark questioned the sustainability of having 3,500 non-deployable officers from a workforce of more than 34,000.

While the above number includes officers who are not deployable for various reasons including mental or physical health and allegations of serious misconduct, the Met has confirmed that the 100 officers mentioned this morning were referenced in "a misconduct sense".

But Mr Marsh believes the discussion isn't fair to officers whose unavailability is work-related.

He said: "There are a number of officers who are unable to conduct frontline policing due to illness and injuries sustained whilst engaged in the execution of their duty. Are those officers not worthy of being treated fairly having sacrificed their wellbeing protecting our communities?

“It’s entirely wrong that the number of non-operational officers are all characterised as people abusing the system to avoid police duty. The bigger picture includes long NHS waits, outsourced telephone Occupational Health all coupled with a toxic long-hours, low support culture."

Mr Marsh told Police Oracle that the Commissioner's comments have left officers at an "all time low" and added that "hundreds" are contacting him  concerned for their future.

Stressing that everyone within the Met shares the same goal of removing officers who shouldn't be there, Mr Marsh argued that the current discussion being led by the Commissioner lacks balance.

“We get what you’re saying boss and fully understand what you are trying to do. But there has to be a bit of fairness," he said.

The Chair's view is that it is up to senior management to expedite the misconduct process, arguing that "any desire to make this easier requires a change in the law".

Sir Mark has asked the Home Secretary to alter Police Regulations to give the final say on misconduct dismissals to the Met SMT.

The upshot, according to Mr Marsh, is that the Commissioner risks alienating officers with his comments.

“If you are constantly lambasted, mistreated and abused in this way, you will not have a workforce that will perform for you," he said.

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