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Reward skills not just length of service says Met Commissioner

Speaking at an event last night, Met Commissioner Mark Rowley called for a move towards a pay structure that recognises skills and performance.

The police pay system needs to move towards rewarding skills and performance rather than length of time served according to Met Commissioner Mark Rowley.

“The challenges of today require core traditional skills but also some new ones,” Sir Mark said. 

“I cannot hire as detectives cyber-experts who cannot be deployed against a violent drunk.  

“I don’t have the reward levers that prioritise skills, values and delivery above length of service.”

He later explained that as policing hopefully moves towards “more realistic pay” following a real-terms cut, that “rewarding the sort of things we want to reward” should be considered. 

“[Dame Lynne Owens] did some great work on this and getting the NCA on a sensible footing in terms of how it does pay and reward where it's much more based on your skills and your performance […] and less based on how many years you've been here. Ours is more tipped the other way,” he continued. 

“That's the way, frankly, most of government services work, and our approach is outdated.”

He went on to say that the most obvious example is with fraud and cyber and that is his starting point. 

There needs to be a core of people who are flexible, he maintained, and it’s not about “throwing out our heritage”. 

But policing increasingly needs “niche skills” to deal with fraud and cyber. 

“To hope we’re going to find it in that pot doesn’t seem like the best way of doing it,” Sir Mark explained. 

“And saying, we’ve got to find it in that pot and the reward, contract and recognition has to all be the same it just seems a bit unrealistic frankly.”

In his address to the Institution of Engineering and Technology Sir Mark told the audience that "data and science had always informed my approach to policing."

He added that more effective use of data would make the most "effective use of the capabilities at our disposal."

At a press conference after his speech the Commissioner said the Met was making progress in replacing its legacy systems. 

“We have two core systems, one that deals with 999 calls and incidents and one deals with crime custody and offenders and case files. We’re part way through replacing that,” he told Police Oracle. 

He said the first modules of the new sytem came on line a few weeks ago and the next module is due in April. 

“That will be a big advantage – that will bring more of our data together on one system going forward. 

“Like all big technology projects that hasn’t gone perfectly but it’s gone a lot better than it could have done.” 

Sir Mark also questioned whether the 43 force structure was still fit for purpose. 

The future, he said, is either putting more resource into the regional capabilities, standardising the governance and arrangements to make it a tighter, regional and national system while retaining local forces – or go to regional forces. 

“At the moment the local collaborations have been created quite differently locally, governance involving local chief constables and local police and crime commissioners have some variations across the country, the size of those units is quite different," he explained. 

“I don’t think that degree of difference when you're wrestling with national and international threats, like fraud and cyber, etc. I just don't think that stands scrutiny,” he said. 

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