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‘Galling’ for police to backfill for strikes when they can’t strike themselves

Sir Mark Rowley has today reached his 100th day as Met Commissioner.

Officers will find it “galling and frustrating” to backfill for public sector strikes when they can’t walk out themselves, Sir Mark Rowley has said. 

He has warned that the large-scale industrial action could lead to a greater workload for officers leaving them unable to do “critical police work”. 

Speaking to the PA news agency, he said: “In terms of our policing of London, I worry that the strikes will lead to more work from other agencies, particularly the health service, falling into the laps of police officers, and that will stop us doing the critical police work we need to do to protect London.

“Secondly, I know my officers will find it galling and frustrating that they’re not allowed to strike and they’re backfilling for people who are striking.

“They have no desire to strike but it will seem unfair to them – they have to accept the pay deal they’re given – to be filling in for others.”

Earlier this month, chairman of the Police Federation, Steve Hartshorn, said that requests for police to fill in driving ambulances during strikes gave him “grave concerns” for their welfare. 

The NPCC has also jumped in saying the service needs to deliver its own “core business” before filling in for striking workers. 

Sir Mark made the comments in an interview marking his 100th day as Met Commissioner. 

In a separate statement he said: “Since I walked into New Scotland Yard on September 12, the passion and dedication of the tens of thousands of people the Met makes them stand out.

“Every day in this role I witness an extra degree of commitment, a willingness to go the extra mile to deliver for Londoners.

“It is this commitment and determination of our men and women, often frankly their sweat and sacrifice, on which a police service that truly serves this city is built.”

He also used the occasion to highlight some of the changes that he has brought in since being appointed. 

They include the appointment of a Chief Scientific Officer to better support areas such as knife crime and VAWG, a reduction in the level of wanted offenders across London (a 31% reduction of domestic abusers) as well as the creation of the Anti-Corruption and Abuse Command. 

He added: “There can be no hiding from the fact that the budget set by the Home Office and City Hall will have a big impact on the scale of reform possible.

“As we renew our leadership, we are also charting a future course creating a new strategy and performance framework that will fundamentally reform policing.” 

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