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The secretary of the Police Federation’s National Detective Forum Karen Stephens has warned a new direct entry scheme is not the answer to the crisis facing detective policing.
Her comments come in response to the Home Office's announcement that it is to launch a new national accelerated scheme, led by Police Now, which will deliver training within 12 weeks and introduce 1,000 detectives over the next five years.
Ms Stephens said:
“This news is an insult to the experienced hard-working detectives that we have left in service. Detective policing is in crisis and our colleagues are struggling to cope with heavy workloads and increasing demand but another ‘direct entry scheme’ is not the answer. The service and the public deserve better than detective officers who will be trained ‘in a matter of months’. Let’s not forget that detective officers deal with the most depraved and complex of crimes – this requires experience. Also, new, inexperienced detectives will require a lot of supervision, putting extra pressure on those already in service."
“What about encouraging officers we already have in service to move into investigative policing? What about making detective policing a desired career choice? What about listening to the practitioners and voice of the service? The answer is not to disregard the skills and experience we already have, or show complete disrespect for officers who have worked hard to become investigators. We already have a ‘streaming’ process, where people join as officers and have time in uniform - if they show an interest in investigation then they can start on the programme. This is more of a middle ground."
"There is already a ‘direct entry detective’ programme within the Metropolitan Police that has not yet been through an evaluation process so we cannot say if it is effective or not. Therefore it does not make financial sense to plough more money into a scheme that has not been through a thorough evaluation. Detectives in the UK are the best in the world because they cut their teeth on the front line and have learned on the job, through years of experience. Whilst we welcome any new investment in policing, this appears to be divisive and ill-conceived. A direct entry scheme will serve to shatter morale even more and do nothing to instil public confidence and trust.”