Q&A: Suffolk Constabulary’s Detective Constable recruitment scheme for members of the public

Martlesham Police Investigation Centre. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Martlesham Police Investigation Centre. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

As Suffolk Constabulary launches a radical new scheme to recruit and train members of the public as detective, the force has also issed this Q&A about the initiative.

Traditionally, the path to becoming a detective constable would see entrants join as a uniformed police officer before specialising. However, Suffolk police is now giving people with the appropriate transferable skills, knowledge and experience the chance to work alongside fellow detectives within six months of joining the police.

Find out here how to apply.

What does the job of detective entail/what will I be doing?

The role of Detective Constable is to protect the public by undertaking investigations into serious and often complex crimes. This involves all aspects of the investigative process including (but not exclusively), dealing with victims, dealing with witnesses, attending scenes, collecting and preserving evidence, identifying and arresting offenders, interviewing, creating case files and attending court.

It is anticipated that all successful applicants will be actively involved in investigating a varied range of criminality dependant on the department in which they are placed.

Investigations Department (CID) – Staff are expected to deal with residential burglaries, serious assaults, domestic abuse, robbery, fraud, theft, drug trafficking and stalking offences. In addition detectives are frequently engaged in unexplained death and high risk missing person enquiries.

Safeguarding – Staff are expected to deal with serious sexual offences, rape, honour based abuse, child sexual exploitation and human trafficking,

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All staff will be supported through these investigations in the initial stages moving towards independence and more complex cases (multi offender crimes, organised crime groups and conspiracy offences as experience grows).

Additional opportunities to apply to specialise in areas such as for example major investigation, surveillance, intelligence and counter terrorism will arise after satisfactory completion of a 2 year probationary period.

To obtain more information or discuss the role in more detail with serving officers, there is an information evening at 1800 on Thursday 20th July 2017 at Suffolk Constabulary Police Headquarters, Portal Avenue, Martlesham Heath, IP5 3QS.

What sort of people are you looking for?

We are looking for highly motivated individuals with a strong investigative mind set, good communication skills and a positive desire to help the vulnerable and support the community.

Other key assets are enthusiasm and commitment, attention to detail, tenacity, confidence and the ability to complete tasks accurately and to a deadline.

There are numerous occupations both within and outside of the police service which involve people having transferable skills and qualifications of relevance to the modern detective function. Examples of such professions would include:

- Accountancy and financial services

- Information Technology

- Health and social care services

- Legal and criminal justice (CPS, probation)

- Private sector investigations

- Public sector investigations (HM Customs and Revenue, Trading Standards, security services)

- Higher education (particularly criminal justice relevant courses)

- Police staff investigators and special constables

What sort of fitness requirements and physical attributes are needed?

Endurance Shuttle Run (Bleep Test)

This element involves running along a 15 metre track to a series of audible beeps. The beeps, during the course of the test get progressively faster. You will need to have reached each side of the track before the next beep sounds.

Pass: Run to level 5.4 (Approximately 3 1/2 minute)

What if I have a previous conviction?

Convictions/cautions/penalty notices will not automatically prevent you from appointment. However if the matter was within the last five years most forces will not accept your application. Individual circumstances will be considered depending on the circumstances and the nature of the offence.

What must you declare?

- Any conviction (includes motoring offences such as speeding)

- Any police caution/Penalty Notice for Disorder

- Spent convictions

- Any involvement in any criminal investigation that did not lead to prosecution

- Applicants who have existing County Court Judgments (CCJs) outstanding against them should not be considered.

What reference or vetting checks will be carried out?

There a number of checks that are undertaken prior to coming into the organisation as a Police Officer. These include:

Vetting to RV (Recruitment Vetting) level. This process will also consider your immediate family and any unrelated co-residents;

Two satisfactory employment references;

Medical screening;

Completion of the Force Fitness Test; and

Biometric Screening – this includes taking finger prints and a DNA sample.

Any age restrictions?

The minimum age to apply for the position of Constable is 18. There is no upper age limit however applicants should remember that the normal retirement age for Constables and Sergeants is 60. All new recruits have to undertake a 2 year probationary period.

What about academic qualifications?

Level 3 qualification gained in England and Wales, within the meaning of the Education & Skills Act 2008 e.g. ‘A’ Level/ AS Level, National Diploma, National Certificate, Level 3 NVQ or City & Guilds, Access to Higher Education Diploma or an academic or vocational qualification gained outside of England or Wales which is considered to be equivalent to a Level 3 qualification.

What does the training entail?

There will be an initial training phase as an introduction to policing equipping candidates with their basic policing skills (this will last 10 weeks)

This initial training will cover key legislation, police powers and procedures as well as personal safety, first aid and equipment training.

Following this foundation course there will be a 10 week period of being tutored in response policing to consolidate learning from basic training and provide you with an understanding of operational policing requirements and context.

You will then be provided one to one tutorship with a trained Detective Constable either in an area CID or safeguarding department.

There are three additional requirements to achieve accreditation as a level 2 Investigator (Detective Constable)

Maintain a portfolio of work (‘one file’) to show capability across relevant skill area

Pass the National Investigators Exam (NIE a multiple choice knowledge test relating to the role of an investigator).

Attend Initial Crime Investigators Development (Detective Constable’s) Course.

How much will I get paid?

Starting salary for a constable is £22,895 rising to £38,001 on completion of seven years. There is of course the opportunity for promotion/career advancement through the organisation with linked increases in salary.

Will I have to Work Shifts?

At this time Investigators work day and late shifts generally between the core hours of 0800 and 2300. However as a warranted officer, shifts and roles could be changed based on operational necessity. The force also operates a CID night car function which requires all Dc’s to participate on a very limited rotational basis.