Met Chief Tells Police: Shape Up or Ship Out

Article excerpt

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens has issued a rallying call to his force to pull together at the toughest period in its history.

The country's most senior police officer called for leadership among senior and middleranking officers, saying he had seen 'massive pockets of demoralisation' in the force.

Sir John also warned officers not committed to taking the Met forward that they should find another job.

The force is facing unprecedented pressures following September 11 as it carries out extra anti-terrorist duties in the capital.

It is having to deal with severe financial pressures, soaring street crime -- especially related to mobile phones - and problems retaining officers.

Sir John said: 'At times like these there is only one way to get things done.

'We must act together and ensure we are all rowing in the same direction.

'I can tell within ten minutes what morale is like at a police station and that all revolves around leadership.

'I see enthusiasm and pride, but I still see massive pockets of demoralisation and that comes from leadership too.'

Surveys over the last 18 months suggested that three-quarters of officers who left the force early did not go because of pay and conditions or their job, he said.

'They went because they did not feel welcome and didn't feel that they had been treated right or led in the right way. …