Detectives across England and Wales “in crisis” suggests Police Federation’s National Detectives’ Forum

Karen Stephens: Secretary of the PFNDF

Karen Stephens: Secretary of the PFNDF

Force-level reports issued on the state of detective policing in England and Wales “make for grim reading”, suggests the Police Federation’s National Detectives’ Forum (PFNDF). These reports follow on from the headline findings of last month’s Police Federation national survey. With workload, levels of fatigue and stress all on the rise, there’s a feeling that police leaders and Government must now take action to rescue this critical role in policing which is deemed to be in a state of crisis.

Nationally, over three-quarters (76%, to be exact) of those detectives surveyed said their workload had increased in the last year, while the same proportion admitted to workloads being too high over the last 12 months. Notably, 73% of officers questioned for the survey felt that they were not able to provide the service victims needed either most or all of the time.

A staggering nine out of every ten respondents who had taken sickness absence due to their mental health and well-being said that the difficulties they experienced were either caused, or at the very least exacerbated, by work.

Karen Stephens, secretary of the PFNDF, said: “The facts speak for themselves. These results clearly show that detectives are overwhelmed, with increased pressures brought on by a lack of resources. Morale is low. People are exhausted and there’s little sign of improvements to come if things stay the way they are.”

Stephens added: “Being a detective was always a sought after and desirable role. However, this survey shows things have changed, and not for the better. The single aim of every officer, detectives included, is to protect and help others, but what these survey results show is that, despite their best efforts, the demands of the role do not allow them to do this.”

At the Hertfordshire Constabulary, which is Stephens’ own force, 62% of respondents said that service cuts have had a major impact on their morale. This is higher than the national average, where 56% of detectives said that service cuts have exerted a major impact on morale.

In addition, 57% of respondents in Hertfordshire stated that service cuts have substantially increased their overall workloads. This compares to the national figure of 62%.

These results “evidence serious shortcomings” that the PFNDF feels need to be addressed. Chief officers, the College of Policing and the Government “need to sit up and listen”.

They have already been told by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services that there’s a ‘crisis in detectives’. “If we continue to fail the men and women who work in these roles,” believes the PFNDF, “then we ultimately fail the victims whom we aim to protect.”

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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