101964417 mediaitem101964416 - Police detective entry system targets graduates

Police detective entry system targets graduates

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Idris Elba plays Detective Chief Inspector John Luther in the BBC series

Graduates can become detectives “in a matter of months” with the help of a new fast-track training programme.

The 12-week scheme is being developed in response to a severe shortage of police investigators.

Ministers have set aside £350,000 for the new detective entry programme which will focus on problem-solving, crime prevention and safeguarding.

Policing minister Nick Hurd said detectives “play an important role in bringing criminals to justice”.

“Detectives are the fact-finders of our police service,” said Mr Hurd.

He said the government-backed programme would “bring in new talent, train detectives in a matter of months and complement other measures that the government and police are taking to keep the public safe”.

In March, it was revealed that there was a shortfall of 5,000 police detectives across England and Wales.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) called it “a national crisis” with one in five detective desks either empty or filled with unqualified staff.

The shortfall is believed to be the consequence of a rise in demand for personnel in specialist areas such as counter-terrorism, as well as the difficulties in retaining investigators in the face of a well-paid commercial sector.

The Police Federation warned last year that morale among detectives had hit “rock bottom” amid mounting workloads, exhaustion and stress.

The Home Office is working with Police Now, a police graduate recruitment programme, to develop the entry scheme.

David Spencer, a former detective and co-founder of Police Now, said he hoped the programme “will encourage a new group of diverse and brilliant individuals to enter the police service and contribute to the outstanding work being done by existing detectives up and down the country.”

The scheme has no start date at present, but the Home Office said it hopes it will boost the number of detectives by up to 1,000 over the next five years.

Chief Constable Matt Jukes, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for detectives, said the role was “more challenging than ever”.

“We need to recruit and develop a diverse group of individuals, who will contribute to this vital area of policing and its future,” he said.

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