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Victims missing out as morale plummets for overworked detectives

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Police Federation calls on chiefs to take action.


Cuts have led to a substantial increase in fatigue and stress

Senior officers and the government must do more to tackle a crisis in detective policing as morale hits rock bottom, the Police Federation says.

It is warning the role is no longer desirable or sought after and victims may be failed as a result of worsening conditions.

The staff association’s detective forum has released the results of its annual survey which found that 90 per cent of respondents said they had taken time off due to mental health and wellbeing issues either caused by or exacerbated by their work.

Some 56 per cent said service cuts have had a huge impact on their morale while over a quarter of detectives felt their physical and mental health had been affected

Half of those who answered also said cuts had led to a substantial increase in fatigue and stress as they battled to keep up with demand.

Karen Stephens, secretary of the Police Federation national detective forum, 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 is little sign of improvements to come if things stay the way they are.”

Three-quarters of detectives said they were not able to provide the service victims need due to their workloads being too high.

Mrs Stephens said: “The single aim of every officer, detectives included, is to protect and help others. But what these results show is that despite their best efforts, the demands of the role do not allow them to do this.

"This is further emphasised with over half of the respondents saying they did not even have time to stay up to date with the latest training.

“Being a detective was always a sought after, desirable role. However this survey shows things have changed and not for the better.”

She called on the NPCC, College of Policing and government to act on the warning sounded by her members.

Earlier this year HMIC warned that a shortage of detectives is a national crisis for policing in England and Wales.

Chiefs have previously asked to be allowed by government to pay detectives bonuses for carrying out their roles, but were told by the pay review body to show evidence for why this would actually help.

NPCC lead for detective recruitment and retention, Deputy Chief Constable Matt Jukes said: "Detectives do a vital job investigating crimes, apprehending offenders and protecting people from harm – and I know that all chiefs are proud of the work they do.

"Forces have been aware for some time of the challenges that today’s survey describes, and it is always a concern when colleagues feel overworked and undervalued.

"The complex nature of investigations and our work to protect vulnerable people has made the role of detectives even more challenging. We are facing a challenge to recruit and retain in these roles, which is adding to the pressure on serving detectives."

He added: “We are looking at a range of ways to improve the situation, including reviewing the way detectives are selected and trained, providing improved workplace support to existing detectives which recognises how their work is changing, as well as looking at changes to incentivise more people into these important roles.”

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