Yorkshire police ask retirees to return as figures show more than 2,000 may be eligible to help burdened staff

More than 2,000 police officers in Yorkshire may be eligible to help burdened emergency services during the coronavirus pandemic, figures reveal.

It comes as two of Yorkshire's forces issue rallying cries for recently retired officers who are fit to work to return temporarily in order to support overstretched frontline staff.

Data shows that there are 2,069 retired police officers currently in the four Yorkshire force districts who did not leave on health grounds, resign, or were dismissed or transferred.

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The figures also exclude officers who died, and relate to individual full-time police officers who left through normal retirement between the financial years 2014-15 and 2018-19.

The also exclude other staff and community support officers (PCSOs).

West Yorkshire Police, the region's biggest force, had the highest number of retirees with 841 officers who left through normal retirement.

Chief Inspector Helen Brear tweeted last week a call to retired officers as the force heads into unprecedented territory.

Writing on behalf of Assistant Chief Constable Angela Williams, Chief Insp Brear addressed retired officers to say: "Your assistance is required to help with the current national emergency."

Police patrols in the Yorkshire Dales on Wednesday. Picture: Getty

However, a spokeswoman for the force also said there were some officers who had retired from the police in this period but who had continued work in the community.

Chief Superintendent Paul Money retired from West Yorkshire Police in 2018 after 30 years' service, but is currently working with Leeds City Council under the Safer Leeds partnership.

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South Yorkshire Police, the region's second biggest force, had 575 retirees.

Police patrols in Manchester. Picture: Getty

Humberside Police had 387, while North Yorkshire Police had 266.

South Yorkshire Police issued a call for retirees to return this afternoon (Thursday).

Opportunities are being opened up for them so they can return and bolster the force during the difficult period.

Chief Constable Stephen Watson said: "We are currently living in exceptional times: there has not been a period in recent history when the contribution of our emergency services has been so critical for communities across South Yorkshire and the rest of the country.

Two of Yorkshire's police forces are appealing to retired officers to come back to work amidst pressures on public services during the coronavirus pandemic

"We are well prepared and equipped to deal with this pandemic. Our officers will remain on the front line and we will be here for the people in South Yorkshire who need us. In these unprecedented times, however, we are also calling upon those who have left us to consider returning to duties to provide a tremendous public service. The skillsets of these former colleagues will be invaluable as we get on with the job in front of us."

The Home Office announced a support package last month to boost police numbers during the Covid-19 outbreak, which includes relaxing complex tax and pension rules potentially deterring some retired officers from going back into service.

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