Changing the face of Investigative Policing – an ex Police opinion
The headline immediately grabbed my attention in The Guardian last week, “Wanted – London Detectives – No policing experience necessary”.
Have I misread it? Is it an attention grabbing headline that is not entirely accurate? Alas, the answer was no on both fronts. The proposal in summary is that persons with no policing background can apply to go straight into a Detective role in the Metropolitan Police and be at the forefront of investigative policing as long as they have:
· A degree
· Have lived in London for 3 out of the last 6 years.
I have read the justification from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary. The intention is to put more specialist personnel into the investigation world to deal with the changing face of crime particularly around cyber-crime.
As a recent former Police Officer both in uniform and as a detective, I feel privileged to be in a position to give an honest view of this plan to revolutionise investigative policing.
In my opinion this is a gravely flawed approach that will fail to produce the calibre of Detective and will only serve to further divide the lines between the uniform and plain clothes world of policing.
It is vital as a Detective that you have a good understanding of the role of a uniform officer, the nature of the work; demands of the work; limitations of time; skill levels. The only possible way to get that understanding is to work in the role and work it out for yourself.
Bringing in persons with no knowledge of that is divisive and unfair on all sides. How can they have the credibility in such an organisation to expect the respect of their uniform colleagues, the obvious thought being, “what do they know, they never did what we do.”
If the numbers dictate that further detectives are required then these should be sought from existing officers and they should be given the incentive, whether financially or in terms of opportunities and skills to learn, to move over.
This should be a great role and seen as a real achievement, this movement however it is dressed will only disrupt, belittle and further divide a great place to work.
This current plan in my opinion has been devised by persons far removed from daily policing let alone investigative policing and will not have a positive impact either in results or morale on an already down trodden workforce.