Met chiefs to be sent back on the beat

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The Independent Online

Senior Scotland Yard officers have been told to go back on the beat in an attempt to improve public confidence in the police.

London's Metropolitan Police announced yesterday that officers from Commissioner rank down to chief inspector level will abandon their desks for at least four hours a month to patrol the streets in uniform. They will be equipped with a baton, handcuffs and CS spray, and carry out the duties of ordinary police constables.

In the 12 months to March this year the overall number of officers in the Metropolitan Police fell by 2.4 per cent, the third largest fall in the country.

Under the new scheme several hundred extra officers will get out on to the streets every month, helping to address public concerns over the number of officers on the beat.

The plan will include the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir John Stevens.

A spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers said the scheme would boost the morale of juniors. "It benefits senior officers to have a look and see what the reality is like for police constables on the street," he said.

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