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David Keeling

Research. Age appointed DCI, Detective Chief Inspector

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David Keeling

I am an author in Sweden writing on a novel taking place in Great Britain. I hope there are someone who can help me on on a question I have on one of my characters. The character is newly appointed DCI, Detective Chief Inspector, and my question is how old a police officer is at the minimum to have been appointed DCI? My own reserch show a detective William Taylor (born 1947), joined the Metropolitan police in London 1966. He later joined CID as a detective constable and served there to 1976, at age of 29 when, as a Detective Chief Inspector, he was transferred to Scotland Yard. Is it possible to reach the rank of DCI younger than this example?
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David Keeling


  • Survey Close Date 20-01-01

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SD

Join at 18, 2 years probation, sit/pass/board form Sgts then Insp in 2 years and DCI in 1. It’s a push but 22/23 would be the very youngest and that would take some going. 

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David Keeling

Thanks for reply SD. The character in my novel is 25 so I guess it's a "reasonable", or at least doable age to achieve a DCI promotion. 

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Reasonable Man

Not reasonable, maybe technically possible. I’ve never known a DCI under 30 years old. I’ve known two get to DCI with less than 10 years service but both came from other jobs so had brought other skills and maturity with them to the police. Both were mid thirties as DCI’s, one has made Supt about ten years on and the other made ACC with just about 20 years total service. 

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Indiana Jones

A DCI at 25 year's old would have hardly any experience at running many 'decent' jobs and I'm guessing wouldn't make a great character for your book.

Unless the book is about someone who project manages a workstream on whatever is the hot topic of this financial quarter.

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Richhamdo
9 hours ago, Indiana Jones said:

A DCI at 25 year's old would have hardly any experience at running many 'decent' jobs and I'm guessing wouldn't make a great character for your book.

Unless the book is about someone who project manages a workstream on whatever is the hot topic of this financial quarter.

@Indiana Jones. I’m with you and @Reasonable Man on this. A twenty five year old detective chief inspector would be a bit of a stretch to me. not wishing to be rude and with all due respect  to  Mr Keeling but i would go as far as to say a bit far fetched. 

After thinking about it for a few days the youngest in real life  would be mid thirties from what i recall of my time in the specials . and thats being very generous. 

@David Keeling. Could  his or her dad or mother  have been a DI  in the book, maybe they still are. Maybe its the case that this twenty five year old has been reading up on law books etc left  lying around the house since they were nine. He/ she could have a photographic memory perhaps and maybe recalled all the jobs they were told about over the dinner table or at bed time and how to set their stall out for new jobs, that sort of thing. I think Columbo ,s dad was a detective and thats maybe one of the reasons why he was so efficient, that and very hard work studying of course. 

Then again maybe this person was made detective inspector because he/she was very clever and shortly after their promotion the current DCI had a skiing accident or whatever, and ended up a bit poorly,  and then this character was asked to stand in for them for whatever period because  nobody else wanted the job as it was to much hard work or admin. 😀. Rich.

 

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David Keeling

Reasonable Man, Indiana Jones and Richhamdo, thanks for good input and responses all three.
Here are som thought after reading your comments. I hope my english is readable enough to understand. : )

@Reasonable Man and @Indiana Jones: Thanks for good input. As you mention it's technically possible to be a 25 DCI, but perhaps not thruly realistic. I'm thinking like this: I search for balance of a fascinating and exciting character yet still realistic, as it takes place on place that exists. Contemplating the character is a person with a great sharp mind, graduated with the highest possible exams, very passionated in the police force and living for the police job with no other major interests - a unique one of a kind character. If I stretch the age 2-3 years older to an age of 27-28 it could be a scenario with an exciting DCI character in a fiction novel, yet still a realistic scenario. 

@Richhamdo Thanks for reflecting over the background of the character, especially the reasoning on "this person was made DI because he/she was very clever and shortly after their promotion the current DCI had a skiing accident or whatever...". This is just the case. The DCI get's as its called in Sweden "an opportunity to good to say no to/a chance one can´t say no to".  More to it, it's on a far away post, not on the mainland and not regarded as a the most coveted appointment. Lastly, part of the intrigue is that the DCI was appointed as the youngest in Britains history, on the merits mentioned above with highest exam points. 

How do you all see the DCI at 27-28 based on this information above?

Best regards : )

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Sierra Lima

He's a graduate? So he'll finish uni at 21. May join straight away but it can take up to 2 years. Then 2 years probation before he can take the NIE (detective exam had to be done first. Then sgt's exams (only once a year). Then at least 1 year "acting Sgt". Before the board if pass then at least 1 year later inspector exam, then at least 1 year acting then board. Then acting CI/DCI. Then board. Etc.

Basically I don't know any DCIs/CIs younger than 40. The promotion processes are very very long. 

Come to think of it I've never an inspector below 30.

Does it need to be  DCI? They never leave the office! It's more a strategic than operational role. 

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Richhamdo
20 minutes ago, Sierra Lima said:

He's a graduate? So he'll finish uni at 21. May join straight away but it can take up to 2 years. Then 2 years probation before he can take the NIE (detective exam had to be done first. Then sgt's exams (only once a year). Then at least 1 year "acting Sgt". Before the board if pass then at least 1 year later inspector exam, then at least 1 year acting then board. Then acting CI/DCI. Then board. Etc.

Basically I don't know any DCIs/CIs younger than 40. The promotion processes are very very long. 

Come to think of it I've never an inspector below 30.

Does it need to be  DCI? They never leave the office! It's more a strategic than operational role. 

@Sierra Lima i agree, i was thinking about saying the same thing about just being a Detective Inspector, they are both equally as important in my opinion . I didn't say anything to  @David Keeling about this because i gathered he was keen on  his character being a young ish DCI. 

The thing that concerns me most about all this, [I’m not sure if i have interpreted this correctly]  is the fact that this person having just been promoted  is going to work in a quiet area /not on the mainland, or someone is anyway, it might have been the other DCI, the one who was offered a cushy job, which was hard  to refuse .

 My question to those in the know on this forum is this. If it was the twenty eight year old who is going to work away in a quiet area/not on the mainland ,  Is there going to be enough work for this DCI to keep themselves gainfully occupied.

I am not sure what a detective chief inspector earns these days but it is probably a tidy sum, so clearly the rate payers will want their money’s worth out of them, and so will his force  CC and the rest of the staff. The DCI i knew from when he joined up as a pc in town [and who i had many a pint with in the police bar at ten o’clock when he finished his shift] was running around here there and everywhere in the force when i retired from the specials.  Rich.

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David Keeling

@Sierra Lima Thanks for interesting input.  The character does not necessarly have to be DCI, but the graduation needs to be interesting enough for the character to take the job on this place. Taking in consideration that the person is as mentioned above a sharp, smart person living for the police job and nothing else, and also concidering a little bit of artistic writing freedom yet still a realistic scenario I was thinking 27-28 years. The characters age can be stretched two or three years to fit in book and relations with story and the other characters in the book. Perhaps a CI could be a solution here. Just as long as its regarded as a "to good to say no to" offer. As I'm not that familiar with the ranking system in Great Britain I'n not sure of the difference between a CI and DCI, if there is any?

@Richhamdo Thanks again for your ideas. Regarding if there are a DCI at this place today, promoted not long ago after taking over after the former DCI. So its a place where there is a DCI needed, not saying that there are much serious crimes on this place. This is also the idea with this novel, serious crimes are very rare here, and now this young newly promoted DCI gets this investigation after just a couple of months in duty. 
But a lower rank just under the DCI could maybe be a solution here, I have to take this in concideration and think about it. Even if its fiction it takes place in a place in a authentic background. Is there a difference between CI and DCI, and what are the differences in rank and their everyday duties? 

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David Keeling

Police career[edit]

@Sierra Lima and @Richhamdo  Additional comment to my comment above: CI and DCI are the same rank more or less, as I understand it. The rank below CI/DCI is Inspector. Perhaps this can be an alternative for me to concider for the character. I read about an officer Keith Hellawell whom was Inspector at the age of 26, "He became Britain's youngest police sergeant at the age of 23, and its youngest Inspector at 26.".  

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Zulu 22
3 hours ago, David Keeling said:

, Police career[edit]

@Sierra Lima and @Richhamdo  Additional comment to my comment above: CI and DCI are the same rank more or less, as I understand it. The rank below CI/DCI is Inspector. Perhaps this can be an alternative for me to concider for the character. I read about an officer Keith Hellawell whom was Inspector at the age of 26, "He became Britain's youngest police sergeant at the age of 23, and its youngest Inspector at 26.".  

Keith Helliwell went through the Accelerated promotion scheme through Bramshill Police College, where you atrte3nded for two yeards.  You got there through the results of the Promotion Exams and an interview process. Once on the course you were guaranteed to leave with the rank of Sergeant and Inspector within 2 years.  During that time you gained very little practical experience which, in so many cases was very evident.  Those officers would not have had the practical experience to have made good D.I.'s and certainly not DCI.  Every DCI I knew had many years experience.

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