SICK: Detectives are longer revered like during the era of 1970s TV cop show The Sweeney, says the PF
BEING a detective has become one of policing's least favoured jobs with many on the sick due to stress and being overworked, a union boss has claimed.
Karen Stephens, Secretary of the Police Federation Detectives Forum, said: “Our National Detectives Survey shows that detectives feel overworked and overwhelmed, with morale at rock bottom, and a staggering number taking sickness absence caused by exacerbation at work.
“Being a detective was always a sought after desirable role however this is no longer the case."
She spoke out after Essex Police became the first force in the country this week to seek to recruit volunteer specials to act as detectives on cases, including murders, rapes and complex frauds.
'CRISIS' Karen Stephens Secretary of the Police Federation Detectives Forum
Ms Stephens added: "We cannot ignore that there is a crisis in detectives within policing with a serious shortfall in the numbers of detectives seen throughout England and Wales.
“Essex’s move is not surprising. Forces are struggling to cope with minimal numbers.
“However we simply cannot ignore the serious shortcomings that need to be addressed so that our detectives are not crumbling under pressure and make being a detective a desirable profession again.”
A spokeswoman for the National Police Chiefs Council said: "Police chiefs are looking at a number of ways in which they can address a shortage of detectives in the service, and the ability to utilise the skills of qualifying special constables is one such avenue."
Essex Police denied it was policing on the cheap, but said the plan would support existing detectives.
A spokeswoman said: "The Serious Crime Directorate Special Constables will not be plunged straight into investigating murders or rapes.
"They will be sworn in, like normal police officers, and subject to the rigorous training that our regular constables are subjected to as well as further enhanced training to enable them to support investigation into serious crimes. This training will take many months.
"They will always work under the governance and guidance of our SCD detectives and SCD senior detectives."