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  1. HMIC has raised red flag over the issue. Working as a detective needs to be restored as an attractive proposition again if chiefs want to address the national crisis in investigation skills, the chairman of the Police Federation National Detectives' Forum believes. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary recently warned that there is a critical shortage of investigators in many forces. Martin Plummer, who is also chairman of Cumbria Police Federation, told PoliceOracle.com: “It’s frustrating when you get the HMIC stating the obvious that we have been saying for a considerable length of time. “[But] it’s a very simple equation, if you have 10 people on a team carrying a workload and you reduce that down to six and you increase that workload and something, somewhere is going to give. “We’re now seeing ridiculous workloads, detectives trying to spin so many plates while everything is combusting around them, there’s no financial backing for protracted inquiries. “We still investigate the most serious crimes, still deal with the worst criminals, the burden of proof in courts rightly remains as high as it ever was. But detectives are increasingly being told 'sorry you haven’t got the time to do that', 'sorry we haven’t got the budget', or 'something else has come up and there’s simply no one else to do it'.” He said the days of most officers wanting to become detectives were long gone, with what he calls “the hardest job in policing” becoming one which people know they will be under increasing pressure from management, as well as CPS, other partners and potentially the IPCC. In its report, HMIC identified the excessive workloads of those remaining in detective roles as a problem for policing. Chiefs have asked the independent remuneration body to allow them to give specialist bonuses to detectives in order to address the issue. The Met’s submission to the body states: “We know that monetary reward is not the only lever available but to have no reward options to attract officers into a particular career path remains deeply problematic, particularly as the operational structure becomes flatter with decreased opportunity for rank progression.” Mr Plummer says he would support extra payments, but points out that the issue is not primarily about personal finances. “The way you can solve this is simply that you need a career as a detective to become once again popular and attractive,” he said. “If you look back to the day where we had a mainstream CID that mainstream CID had their specialisms, they weren’t asking for extra payments for added responsibility they loved what they did. They had the time and resources to get the results. “Where we are now is that the good will has been eroded over the years. Detectives saying they’re not prepared to take on extra cases I’ve got the IPCC knocking on the door, victims, witnesses wanting to know how their cases are going, the CPS wanting things done yesterday. The support and backing is not there. “I’m not saying they want a pat on the back, what detectives have always wanted is to bring criminals to justice,” he added. Responding to the HMIC report, the NPCC pointed out that having 32,334 fewer officers and a 22 per cent budget cut had been difficult as crime “changes”. National lead for crime operations CC Mike Barton said: “Difficult decisions are being made between resourcing neighbourhood teams, response units, specialist investigations, and digital and cyber-enabled crime. “Police chiefs around the country will be looking at their local assessment to consider the impact of resourcing decisions, which may have been hidden from view.” View on Police Oracle
  2. Fed says 'no one benefits' from system where demand is high and resource low. More than 60 per cent of police officers believe their workload is too high. The concerning, but not surprising, statistic was revealed in a survey which illustrates how officers face an increase in demand which is affecting the quality of their work. The Police Federation's recent welfare poll also highlighted an issue in proactive policing, with 70 per cent of respondents disagreeing or strongly disagreeing they have enough time to engage in such a thing. Police Oracle is highlighting different elements of the survey as part of its BluePrint campaign. The campaign wants the government to fulfil its duty of protecting officers both in the job, and when they have been forced out of the service due to physical injuries or mental trauma. Police Oracle is calling on the Government to acknowledge and protect our unique service by introducing a Police Covenant. The Fed has also launched Protect The Protectors with the organisation seeking a change in legislation so that officers who are assaulted in the course of their duties are afforded better protection. Jason Kwee, Chairman of the Fed's Health and Safety sub-committee, says one of the Peelian principles of policing is the ‘prevention of crime and disorder’. “One of the most effective ways to do this is with proactive patrols. I remember when there were sufficient staffing levels on the shift, a couple of officers would don their ‘civvy jackets’, take out an unmarked car and target specific areas or individuals. Unfortunately, such opportunities rarely exist anymore, with officers barely managing to cover the stacked calls and incidents that roll in on an average shift.” The survey found more than half the respondents (58 per cent) disagreed or strongly disagreed that they have enough time to do their job to a standard of which they could be proud. Mr Kwee said this was not surprising as officers are frustrated they do not always get the opportunity to give a consistent "gold standard service". “Policing is a proud vocation and officers come to work to give the best service to the community they serve. As with most things in life, if you focus on the quantity element, then the quality may suffer," he added. “With the constant pressure of incoming incidents, and the increasing lack of available resources, officers attending incidents will no doubt feel pressured to complete the current task as quickly as needed and to move on to the next incident. Unfortunately, no one benefits from this, especially the victims of crime.” As reported by Police Oracle last month, other headline figures from the demand survey included: 66 per cent of officers indicated their workload was too high 33 per cent admitted being the victim of an unarmed physical attack at least once per month over the last year 36 per cent reported being attacked with a weapon at least once in the last year 70 per cent disagreed or strongly disagreed that they have enough time to engage in proactive policing 80 per cent acknowledged experiencing feelings of stress, low mood, anxiety, or other mental health and wellbeing difficulties 92 per cent of those indicated their psychological difficulties had been caused or made worse by work View on Police Oracle