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Techie1

Make detective work attractive again to stop numbers decline, says forum head

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HMIC has raised red flag over the issue.

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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.”

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I agree, however what they are going to do to solve it is anyone's guess. 

Ironically, part of the problem is that now response policing is no longer bottom of the heap and everything is handed over, people are thinking 'why should I put myself out when I can just stay on response for a (relatively) easy life'.

A difficult nut to crack. 

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59 minutes ago, cheese_puff said:

I agree, however what they are going to do to solve it is anyone's guess. 

Ironically, part of the problem is that now response policing is no longer bottom of the heap and everything is handed over, people are thinking 'why should I put myself out when I can just stay on response for a (relatively) easy life'.

A difficult nut to crack. 

If you think that response is relatively easy, try it. Handing jobs over is getting harder and harder. I can remember when you had to have passed the Promotion exam to be considered for CID. Promotions came predominantly from CID when officers would be promoted back into uniform, or even remain in  the CID. That system was an encouragement for officers to work CID. The problem was if you did not get promotion then you had to commit a minor misdemeanour to get punished and kicked off back to uniform as a punishment.

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I have done thank you and I thoroughly enjoyed it. However as I recall we dealt with most of our stuff and rarely handed anything over. Nowadays they don't keep anything except maybe drink drives (and often then get passed over on the basis that they are too drunk to be dealt with). 

No doubt in my mind which is is easier and which is harder. But only at the moment. 

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2 hours ago, Zulu 22 said:

If you think that response is relatively easy, try it. Handing jobs over is getting harder and harder. I can remember when you had to have passed the Promotion exam to be considered for CID. Promotions came predominantly from CID when officers would be promoted back into uniform, or even remain in  the CID. That system was an encouragement for officers to work CID. The problem was if you did not get promotion then you had to commit a minor misdemeanour to get punished and kicked off back to uniform as a punishment.

I've just had a period acting up on response  and it was the hardest and most intense period of work I have done since joining, including the 4 years I did on response as a PC.  I'm now a t/DC and the contrast between the intensity and work requirements of the two roles is poles apart.

We have an interesting problem in the police in that some specialist roles such as DCs are getting harder and harder to fill in some forces, yet numbers interested in joining the police have only seen a small decline.  A career in the police is still seen as an attractive job but there is some government research showing that numbers applying to be PCs are starting to reduce.  Once in though people see the reality of some of the roles and actively shy away from applying for them, such as being a DC in some forces.  My force seems to attract a reasonable number of people when we run DCs application processes having run three in the last two years to bolster numbers although I'm not sure how many we needed to recruit.  I do know though that people weren't particularly interested in transferring to us as when we advertised only a handful applied and we only took on two from other forces.  Both Hampshire and the MPS have started advertising externally for direct entry DCs to try to plug gaps in their ranks.

It would also be interesting to see what the score is for other specialisms such as firearms and to get an idea about interest in joining those teams.

From what I've read there seem to be problems with DC recruitment and retention because of pay although that can be applied across the board, work load, constant beasting from HMG and HMIC, blame culture, poor management, poor promotion prospects and poor training. These issues need to be fixed soon or the problems will get worse.  Gimmicks like external direct entry will only paper over cracks and won't address the core problem.

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On 16 March 2017 at 12:22, skydiver said:

From what I've read there seem to be problems with DC recruitment and retention because of pay although that can be applied across the board, work load, constant beasting from HMG and HMIC, blame culture, poor management, poor promotion prospects and poor training. These issues need to be fixed soon or the problems will get worse.  Gimmicks like external direct entry will only paper over cracks and won't address the core problem.

The reason officers left Response was to get away from dealing with the s**t 24x7………. the trouble now is that CID are now dealing with the s**t as well, due to lack of Response officers so not many want to move upstairs to deal with the same s**t but never get off on time. That is the difference, family life is more important than work  & overtime is not as attractive as it use to be, so why move!

 

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