Retired Metropolitan Police officers are being asked to return to the force as it tries to cope with the coronavirus outbreak in London.
Former PCs and sergeants who left in the past five years are to be offered work in a paid or voluntary capacity. The force also wants those nearing retirement to consider staying on.
Met Commissioner Cressida Dick said: “Demands on us will grow and vary over the coming weeks but I want people to know and see the Met is here for them.” She is writing to retired police constables and sergeants to re-join at those ranks, either on a full or part-time basis.
The latest available Home Office data shows 5,012 Metropolitan Police officers retired in the five years up to March 2019, excluding those who did so on medical grounds.
The force had a total of more than 31,000 officers as of last September. Senior officers may be able to return to service where they bring specific skills and experience.
The Met also wants retired officers to sign up as special constables.
The government is considering releasing some offenders from prisons in England and Wales to ease pressures caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said the virus poses an “acute” risk in prisons, many of which are overcrowded.
Some 3,500 prison staff – about 10% of the workforce – were off work on Tuesday because they were ill or self-isolating, a committee of MPs was told. Mr Buckland said releasing some inmates could help to “alleviate” pressures.
The justice secretary told the Commons justice committee he was “keen” to make use of release on temporary licence – where prisoners are let out for short periods, after a risk assessment.
Mr Buckland said he was looking “very carefully” at whether or not 50 pregnant prisoners could be released.
He also indicated some of the 9,000 inmates who are on remand, awaiting trial, could be transferred to bail hostels, if it was safe to do so.
At least 23 people have died in one of Bogotá’s largest jails after what the authorities are calling a mass breakout attempt amid rising tensions over coronavirus.
Colombia’s Justice Minister Margarita Cabello said 83 inmates were injured during a riot at La Modelo prison.
Inmates at prisons across the country held protests on Sunday against overcrowding and poor health services during the coronavirus outbreak. The justice ministry is investigating.
Ms Cabello said 32 prisoners and seven guards were in hospital. Two guards are in a critical condition. She said the violence was a coordinated plan with disturbances reported across 13 of the country’s prisons.
Denying claims of unsanitary conditions amid fears of a coronavirus breakout, she said: “There is not any sanitary problem that would have caused this plan and these riots. “There is not one infection nor any prisoner or custodial or administrative staffer who has coronavirus.”