Met's struggle to meet emergency response targets blamed on lack of qualified drivers

Met police car

The Met has set a target to respond to 90 per cent of emergency calls within 15 minutes.  - Credit: Met Police

The lack of qualified trainers in the Met Police is “so chronic” that officers are being sent for advanced driving training with county forces, a committee heard. 

The measure has been taken in an effort to address the lack of police officers qualified to drive at high speed in response to emergency calls. 

The Met has set a target to respond to 90 per cent of such calls within 15 minutes. 

However, a quarterly report of performance indicators for July to September, presented to Havering’s crime and disorder committee on December 9, revealed the rate for the East London's Basic Command Unit (BCU) was 64.9pc. 

Not only was this significantly below the Met’s target, it was also a decline on the 76.8pc recorded for the same quarter in the previous year. 

Cllr John Tyler, from the Upminster and Cranham Residents Group, made note of this year’s figure and said it “seems to me to be extremely low”. 

Det Ch Supt Paul Trevers, interim boss of the BCU, which covers Havering, Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham, said there were a "number of factors at play”. 

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He said “availability of officers” was one significant issue, with some being reassigned to cover several “high-profile events” in central London during the summer. 

There is a “Met-wide” shortage of drivers who have passed the advanced driving tests required in order to drive at high speeds during an emergency response, he added.

Part of the problem, Det Ch Supt Trevers said, was that such qualified officers frequently move into specialist units, but he also cited a lack of qualified trainers in the area as a source of the problem.

He told the meeting: “The problem is so chronic in the Met we are actually sending Met officers to be trained in county forces, because we haven’t got the trainers to train or the vehicles to train in.” 

He was “hoping we have turned a corner” on response times after securing a number of courses for officers. 

Officers who are given the training may be mandated to remain in the BCU for two years in order to avoid skilled officers being lost to specialist departments, he added.

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