All former Met Police constables and sergeants who retired within the last five years – starting from March 31 2015 – will receive a letter from Commissioner Cressida Dick asking them to rejoin the Met either in a paid or voluntary capacity.
Senior officers with applicable skills and experience may also be asked to rejoin. Those police unwilling to come back full time have been asked to consider returning as special constables and committing 16 hours a week to police work.
Officers who are set to leave the force will also be asked to postpone their retirement.
Commissioner Dick said: “On behalf of London, and all the men and women of the Met, it is important that we take all reasonable steps to bolster our numbers.
“Demands on us will grow and vary over the coming weeks but I want people to know and see that the Met is here for them. We must maintain our operational resilience and continue to provide the best possible service to London.
“Police officers overwhelmingly join ‘the job’ to help people and to make a difference, and that desire will be as strong today as it was the very first day they joined. I am hopeful that these exceptionally experienced and knowledgeable former colleagues choose to come and be part of our team and support London at this extraordinary time – either as a re-employed police officer, special constable or a volunteer.”
Police officers now have powers to enforce staying at home and avoiding non-essential travel, as of 1pm on Thursday.
As a result, people who continue to flout coronavirus lockdown rules will be breaking the law and could be arrested or fined. Officers can use “reasonable force, if necessary”.
London Ambulance Service has also appealed for former staff to return.
The service tweeted: “We are asking former members of our team to consider returning, if they can, to support us in helping Londoners in need.
“We’re particularly keen to hear from former 111 and 999 control room team staff.”