Detective entry scheme hailed as ‘hugely successful’ as new crop joins force

Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger said the scheme was launched to address some of the ch

Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger said the scheme was launched to address some of the challenges around recruitment Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY - Credit: Archant

An innovative Suffolk police scheme to recruit detectives from the general public has been hailed as the force welcomes a new crop of rookies.

Police detective recruit Leia Dowsing Picture: GREGG BROWN

Police detective recruit Leia Dowsing Picture: GREGG BROWN

Suffolk became one of the first forces in the country to launch the fast-track detective entry scheme in 2017 and the radical project attracted much attention throughout the county.

People with no experience of working for the police were invited to train to become detectives without the requirement of having two years' experience of working as beat officers in uniform.

The force received more than 2,300 enquiries resulting in 229 completed applications. A total of 22 officers were selected.

A new crop of 16 recruits have now been selected and arrived this week to begin training.


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Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger said the scheme was launched to address some of the challenges around recruitment.

"The requirements to deliver serious and complex investigations nationally has risen quite considerably and as a result, police forces have invested and tried to grow their detective capabilities," he said.

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"There have been some challenges around recruitment to those roles through traditional routes and Suffolk were frontrunners in being innovative and looking at different solutions to that problem.

"We attracted huge amounts of interest with the public for the roles. We were able to recruit some very high standard, high calibre individuals from a real range of backgrounds, some very interesting professions that came across to us.

Police detective recruit Leia Dowsing Picture: GREGG BROWN

Police detective recruit Leia Dowsing Picture: GREGG BROWN

"We were able to reach people who wouldn't ordinarily have joined the police force. So from an inclusion point of view, we're getting a better representation of the public that we serve."

MORE: Radical police detective scheme nominated for awardDCS Bridger added that the recruits have come from "all walks of life" and bring different skills to the force.

"It's been really interesting actually," he said. "Some were internal police staff members anyway so had familiarity with the organisation in different roles. But they've come from all walks of life, officer roles in the military, others have come other public sector roles to join us.

"One of the most interesting characters we've got was previously an actor, and he's joined us as a detective and he's been a huge success.

"Society is made up of loads of different people. Some with skills that lead them towards being able to deal with street-based confrontation, some with skills which are actually hugely technical or able to deal with volumes of information in a really professional way - and not always do those two skill sets come together in an individual."

DCS Bridger said he's delighted with how the scheme has progressed so far.

"Where we've got to now, we're two years into the scheme, it's been hugely successful." he said. "Everyone on the scheme has met the required standards and are performing to high performance levels.

"The workforce has been very accepting of that scheme and particularly because the proof of concept has been so strong.

"We can see from the individuals concerned and I'm lucky enough to meet them all relatively regularly and see them through the early stages of their career, that they are not just supporting us - they are high achievers."

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