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Police Deterred From Detecting

The risk involved to officers’ personal lives and mental health is deterring people from becoming detectives, West Yorkshire Police Federation has said.
The force has suffered from a shortfall in detectives following years of austerity, which has resulted in a “crisis in CID departments across the force”, according to Det Insp Phil Jackson, West Yorkshire Police Federation’s Detectives’ Lead.

Phil said that patrol policing can be understood as a sprint, where the baton is passed on after each shift, but investigation work is a marathon in which detectives can carry the burden alone.

He said: “We’ve got a crisis there for people that want to do it because they see that there’s risk and how it affects you mentally and physically as you go, because you can’t let the investigation down – you’ve got to stay with it.”

Phil, who is also head of West Yorkshire Police’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit, called for more to be done to encourage people into the role:

He said: “I think it’s down to individual departments and districts to nurture talent and talent-spot, and to make the role more attractive.
“To say, ‘Are we going to give a bonus payment?’, but not all forces can do that.

“To say, ‘Are we going to give it on par with the shift allowance? Are we going to make them so they’re not financially detrimental to the families?’.
“It’s about nurturing and talent-spotting and making them keen and getting them trained up to understand what the role is, and hopefully they’ll remain in the detective world to have a long and fruitful career.”

The role’s status has been damaged in recent years, Phil said, but more is now being done to get new recruits through the system, and direct entry can help to get people into investigative roles.

He added: “I think if the people that are the right candidates to do the right role, it’s fantastic and why not bring other people with other skills from other industries in? They can always help.

“The difficulty is we have a massive skills gap that we’ve got to try and plug, and sometimes it’s really difficult for new people coming in to understand that, what has gone before and the foundations which have built up.

“So it’s about getting them along to that stage and sometimes it’s a bumpy road.”

Date posted: November 18, 2019

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