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West Midlands Police Federation

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Detective writes blog highlighting reality of the role

16 May 2018

“The dream job has turned into a nightmare,” says the national Federation’s detectives’ lead, Karen Stephens.

Writing in a blog on the Police Federation of England and Wales’ website, Karen outlines the pressures of the role and highlights the findings of last year’s detectives’ survey which showed 80 per cent of respondents felt their work had negatively affected their mental health.

“Having been a detective for almost 17 years and a police officer for more than 26, I think the reality of the job is somewhat removed from our on-screen representations,” Karen explains.

“But I have to say when I joined the police, young officers could only aspire to become a detective. If you were good enough, and lucky enough, one day you might make it to the mysterious mostly male world which existed behind a door marked CID – a door you still had to knock on to be granted entry if you were in uniform!

“Over the years the mystique and the misogyny has diminished thankfully. And, as the kudos reduced, the workload increased. Today detectives are facing unprecedented demands. They have case files full of some of the most serious offences – all of which have witnesses and victims who need assistance and support.”

In the blog, and as part of the Federation’s national Detectives in Crisis campaign, Karen argues that detectives are facing unprecedented demands and says that in speaking to officers the same words and phrases are recurring: ‘pressure’, ‘undervalued’, ‘stress’, ‘struggling’ and ‘frustrated’.
John Williams, acting chair of West Midlands Police Federation, has welcomed the blog and added his support to the campaign.

He said: “The role of the detective is vitally important in policing. They painstakingly gather bits of evidence and piece them together to bring some of our worst offenders to justice. They interview witnesses, suspects, liaise with prosecutors and help support victims and their families. It really is a role like no other.

“There is a shortfall and we need more officers to want to do this role so we can continue with the great work. Detectives face a huge rage of pressures and this campaign can only help people to recognise that.”

Karen’s blog


October 2020