GMP relies on a “new tricks” approach to reinforce the thin blue line. As in the long-running television drama, the force hopes that the return of retired officers with knowledge gained from years of service will help fight crime.
In the show, which ran for 12 years and starred Amanda Redman, James Bolam, Alun Armstrong and Dennis Waterman, old cops were brought in to investigate unsolved crimes. GMP has done the same in the past to help with its Cold Case Unit and support for the Major Incident Team.
But now the force has recruited thirty former officers, who will be used in various departments. One returning officer is Detective Chief Inspector Lee Hopwood, who spent almost 30 years with GMP in Rochdale and Oldham, last working on counter-terrorism.
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He will take on a new role in the GMP Investigations Inspection Team to work behind the scenes and advise on ongoing investigations. DCI Hopwood, 52, who originally joined the force in 1992, said: “I spent 29 1/2 years in GMP and wasn’t really ready to leave, and came back after a month as a civilian to teach students. of detectives. . I did that for a year, but when I saw an opportunity to return to the force, I jumped at it. All of the returning officers bring a tremendous amount of experience to the table, experience that would otherwise be lost.”
A group of 15 officers with a combined service of more than 400 years rejoined the force this month. The group was made up of nine PCs, five sergeants and a Detective Chief Inspector with previous CID, firearms, child protection and road policing experience.
GMP currently has 7,942 police officers on duty, up from 6,787 in November 2019. More than 8,000 are expected by the end of March.
Chief Superintendent Niall Hayden-Pawson, from GMP’s Police Enhancement Programme, said: “Returning officers have a wide range of skills which are exactly what GMP is looking for. We have uniformed officers and sergeants returning to frontline roles in our districts including Manchester City, Rochdale, Salford and Trafford, as well as officers working in a number of different force areas including custodial roles, special operations, weapons of fire and response.
“Some of them have really missed working at GMP and wanted to come back to work for us again. They will now undergo a three-week training course, which is much shorter than the 19 weeks new student officers undergo.
“That means the process is profitable since we have already invested in these people before, plus it helps us with the increase in numbers that the police chief promised as part of his Plan on a Page.”
In total, 33 officers will return to GMP in the coming months through the reinstatement scheme announced in September last year to perform a variety of roles with two more groups returning in March.
In 2021, the force reverted to its old style of having a Chief Superintendent for each Greater Manchester ward, after several years in which one Chief Superintendent had responsibility for two or even three. In what was described as the “most ambitious senior recruitment process in GMP history”, six more chief superintendents were appointed in “critical roles” such as protection and intelligence.
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