Greater Manchester Police is struggling to recruit and retain detectives because of years of underfunding
29 July 2022
Greater Manchester Police is struggling to recruit and retain detectives because of years of underfunding and “burying its head in the sand”, the Federation has said in response to comments from the force’s Chief Constable.
In an interview with The Guardian this week, CC Stephen Watson attributed the 163 detective vacancies in the force, and the subsequent need to bring in agency staff, to officers’ desire for a better work-life balance.
But Greater Manchester Police Federation’s Detective Lead, Tim Hanson, said this masked a chronic lack of investment from the force.
Tim said: “For the past eight years, the Police Federation has been warning police forces nationally that there is a detective crisis in terms of recruitment and retention. The crisis has been born out of years of devaluing the role of the detective, coupled with a lack of investment in recruitment, training and remuneration.
“Greater Manchester Police has buried its head in the sand about this issue for years and it is through inaction that we are now carrying over 160 detective vacancies.
“While the Chief Constable touches upon excessive hours and the disproportionate effect this has on the work-life balance of detectives, our members also inform us that the detective role has been treated as the poor relation of the police family for years and is not seen as attractive because of factors such as excessive demand, a lack of training and investment, and the many hoops they have to jump through to get a case to court.
“All of this has left our current detectives at the point of burnout – and potential new detectives are seeing this and being turned off to the role.
“Despite this, GMP detectives obtain fantastic results, day-in day-out, for the communities of Greater Manchester, and they still manage to ensure that offenders are brought to justice and the public are safeguarded.
“All detectives accept that at times they will have to work long hours, as that is what is needed to get the job done, but this has been the case since the days of Robert Peel, yet it is only in recent years that we have struggled with recruitment.
“While the Chief Constable is correct that detectives are paid the same as other officers, those looking to join the CID face losing shift allowances and overtime opportunities, and they also have the added expense of purchasing clothes to wear at work.”
There are mechanisms available to address this pay imbalance, such as bonus style payments and targeted variable payments, Tim said, adding that the federation had “repeatedly asked” the force to consider these options.
He continued: “I am pleased that GMP has now recognised the need for action and, under the guidance of ACC Jackson, a new investigative resilience plan is being formulated with the promise of significant investment.
“Part of the short-term plan has been to recruit agency staff who can bring previous skills and experience to assist our detectives while the long-term investment can be realised. While the agency staff will not replace the need for detectives, they can provide value and take some of the burden off our overworked detectives.
“GMP has welcomed the voice of the Federation to assist with the investigative resilience plan and I will continue to work with them to negotiate better working conditions for investigators and to influence GMP to improve the recruitment and retention of detectives.”