Police constables in London will be recruited exclusively from people who live in the capital, it has been announced today.

For the first time in its history, the Metropolitan Police Service will recruit exclusively from Londoners in a bit to ensure the force is "more resilient and more reflective of the city it serves".

The Met said it is on track to recruit 5,000 new police constables before 2016 to maintain police numbers at or around 32,000, as pledged in London Mayor Boris Johnson's 2012 election manifesto.

The new policy means that from Friday, August 1, only job candidates who have lived in Greater London for three of the last six years will now be eligible to apply at entry level.

The Met commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, said: “London is a 24/7 global city with a dynamic and intensity not seen in other parts of the UK.

"And with London’s population increasing and becoming even more diverse it is essential that our workforce is able to maintain the trust and confidence of London’s communities.

“Recruiting Constables with a knowledge and understanding of this reality through living in the capital makes sense to help us achieve this aim.

“They will have a better understanding of local issues, knowledge of local communities and an inbuilt insight into London’s varied cultures. We need great talent to help us fight crime."

Mr Johnson said: “It is vital that London’s police force reflects the city it serves. Recent recruitment rounds have attracted a more diverse pool of applicants, but by focusing exclusively on Londoners from now on, we can achieve our goals more quickly.

"By putting Londoners first, we can fill the Met’s ranks with the talented recruits who understand the people and culture of this great global city the best.

“Every police officer is always and will always be selected on merit, but there is more than enough talent in this great city to give the Met all the devoted and skilled new recruits they need to go on keeping Londoners safe.”

The policy change will not affect serving officers, existing Met staff, members of the Special Constabulary, or existing police officers seeking to transfer from other UK forces.

People who live outside Greater London will still be able to apply to become an MPS Special Constable, Police Community Support Officer, or member of police staff, or under the existing recruitment process for a Police Constable, until Thursday, July 31.

What do you think? Should London's police be made up of only Londoners? Leave a comment below or email: ooakes@london.newsquest.co.uk.