The Metropolitan Police have been accused of wasting money after spending more than £26m on agency temps at the same time as paying off 900 staff and announcing thousands of jobs losses.
Last year the force paid £44m to secure the voluntary departure of 900 staff as part of efforts to reduce headcount and save money.
However figures published by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) show the Met also paid employment agency Reed £26.7m to provide temps during the same period.
Despite last year announcing plans to axe 3,500 permanent civilian jobs to help save £500m, MOPAC says the Met will spend a further £110m over the next four years on agency workers to “fulfil a wide variety of general, administrative, technical, operational support and senior management roles.”
When the job losses were first announced critics claimed the Mayor was sacrificing civilian staff in order to keep police office numbers up. They also warned he risked having to relegate warranted officers to back office and admin roles to fill gaps.
One member of the London Assembly said MOPAC’s figures proved that axing civilian jobs had been the wrong decision.
Baroness Jenny Jones said: “It’s ridiculous that the Met spent £26.7m on recruiting temporary agency workers at the same time as spending nearly £44m on redundancy costs for over 900 staff. Civilian support staff are cheaper and often better at roles than warranted officers.
“The Mayor’s desire to prioritise police officer numbers above all other things means the Met wastes lots of money getting rid of experienced staff only to replace them with temporary ones. We need officers on the frontline, with great staff to back them up.”