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Sussex Police Federation

Sussex Police Federation: Detectives are “close to breaking point”

17 October 2019

Detectives are “close to breaking point” as Sussex Police, the force’s Federation has warned.

Simon Steele, Secretary of Sussex Police Federation, said there was a “serious shortage” of detectives at the force, and that the force is struggling to recruit more.

Sussex is running at an estimated 76 detectives under establishment at the moment, reflecting the national picture.

Nationally, there is a shortfall of around 5,000 detectives, a problem that was discussed at the Police Federation of England and Wales National Detectives' Forum (PFNDF) in Birmingham.

Simon said: “We’ve got a serious shortage, certainly within our Public Protection Unit at the moment. The force are looking to take action around that. But I do think it’s important that when we get these 129 additional police officers that we’re going to get next year, we can’t just put them all out on the streets. We need to also deal with the issues within CID.”

Simon blamed years of austerity for under-resourced investigation departments, and said Sussex is struggling to fill CID vacancies, but that the force was aware of the problem and is trying to improve the situation.

He added: “We need to make the detective role attractive again. It used to be easy to fill the detective roles. Now officers don’t want to go into the department for whatever reason, down to the workloads that they’re carrying, the pressures, the hours that they’re working, and a lot of them are pretty close to breaking point.”

Some forces have introduced direct entry, which will enable graduates to undergo training and go straight into investigative departments - skipping uniformed service - but Sussex has not announced any plans to introduce the scheme.

Simon added: “I’m not opposed to direct entry. But I think they need to get it right and make sure that they’re trained to the right standards and given the right support. I do think that direct entry people have something to offer because they bring a new approach and come in with a different mindset, so I’m not totally against it.”