Met Police out to show (fighting) crime pays
Crime, proverbially, does not pay. The Metropolitan Police is aiming to prove that fighting it can – and in the process secure its finances in an age of austerity.
According to The Times, London's police force, the largest in the country with 31,000 officers, has issued a "public sector procurement notice" detailing its plans to set up a commercial arm.
Known as Met Enterprise, the new division would partner with a private sector firm to provide "training to other constabularies and foreign police forces".
The Met says the plans are an attempt to "commercialise our brand" to ensure "future financial stability". It adds in the notice that the value of the venture is between £1bn and £1.5bn.
The Times says senior Met officers are "working on an outline business case to commercialise its police training faculty, which is to be presented to Sadiq Khan and the mayor of London's office for policing and crime".
The notice states that the proposed "strategic partnership" would be "centred around the provision of a transformed training facility… as well as potentially providing value-added training services to other forces and entities".
Interested parties are invited to provide feedback on the "development of third-party revenue streams and commercial opportunities", as well as "the most advantageous route to market, remuneration and the methodology of how benefits could be delivered".
A spokesman added: "Met training has a global reputation with police forces from all over the world attending our training courses."
If the force is to make a success of the new venture, it will want to avoid headlines such as the one in the Sunday People this week that highlights an increase in injuries sustained by officers during training exercises.
The paper says 354 officers suffered injuries in the 12 months to the end of May, a 150 per cent increase on the previous year. Of these 15 were classed as "major".
A police source said: "The whole point of [training] is to ensure that officers are up to speed on the latest techniques in defending themselves and arrest procedures.
"Inevitably, sometimes things don't go as planned and officers get a whack, but that's what happens out on the streets, so at least the training is preparing officers for the real world."