Detective warns of CID recruitment and retention crisis

A veteran detective has warned of a growing recruitment and retention crisis with young officers opting to stay in uniform rather than making the transfer to CID.

Detective Sergeant Dave Rich said changes in police procedures meant officers were left lacking the experience and confidence to become detectives.

And with the pay disparity between detectives and their uniformed colleagues plus the issues around disclosure and redaction, he said making the switch was no longer an attractive choice.

Dave, who served with Barry CID for 20 years before becoming a full-time Fed rep earlier this month, said: “I started trying to raise awareness around this in around 2015 but I think the problems around recruitment and, even more importantly, retention probably date back even farther than that.”

He warned the Force was struggling to replace long-serving detectives and felt the creation of investigation hubs was behind a lot of the issues because their introduction had made it more difficult for young officers to gain valuable experience.

“I worked in a department where the majority of us had been there for years and years so it was a strong team of really experienced detectives with a considerable amount of time on the CID and response time before that,” he said.

“But then over the course of a couple of years everyone started to leave and when it came to replace them we found there were very few officers with that sort of experience.

“I put it down to the creation of the investigation hubs. They were brought in with good intent but it meant that officers, especially on response, don’t deal with their own files anymore.

“Officers don’t really investigate crime. They might arrest someone and take a statement but they will then hand a file over to the hub which then deals with it.

“So, we have officers who are not interviewing, not investigating things at source and then putting their files in so they never get that vital experience.

“It’s become almost like an administration job and I think that puts a lot of officers off from becoming detectives. 

“They call it an investigation hub but it’s more like an admin process where someone picks up a package with a statement and hands it over to the CPS and as a result young officers are not picking up the experience of investigating, dealing with something from beginning to end, going to court - all those things links are being missed out.”

The crisis around the recruitment and retention of detectives was highlighted by the chair of the Police Federation National Detectives’ Forum (PFNDF) Ben Hudson when he appeared on TalkTV during the channel’s Police Week.

Ben said there was a shortfall in detective numbers across England and Wales and that uniformed colleagues no longer jumped at the chance of a transfer. 

He said: “Becoming a detective requires an additional exam and sometimes that from an educational perspective will put people off.

“But also, to be a detective you are roughly taking a £1,200 pay cut because of the difference in not working nights and the shift allowance you get for that as a uniformed cop.

“One of the things we are looking to address nationally is pay parity so we can try to ensure we can keep people interested in becoming a detective.

“There are not enough detectives across the country. We can’t attract people to move from their unformed roles into detective jobs.”