GRADUATES will be trained as detectives in 12 weeks under plans to tackle a severe shortage of police investigators.
Ministers have announced £350,000 in funding for the fast-track training programme, after the policing watchdog called the dearth ‘a national crisis’.
In March, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services warned there was a shortfall of 5,000 investigators across England and Wales.
Police will be able to boost the number of detectives by up to 1,000 in the next five years as a result of the initiative, according to the Home Office which is working with graduate recruitment programme Police Now.
It will include digital training so recruits are equipped to deal with the ‘changing nature’ of modern crime and focus on problem-solving, crime prevention and safeguarding.
Policing minister Nick Hurd said: ‘Detectives are the fact-finders of our police service.
‘They play an important role in bringing criminals to justice and getting to the bottom of complex crimes.’
In its latest assessment, the watchdog found one in five detective desks is empty or filled with unqualified staff. ‘Most forces have a substantial shortage in qualified detectives and other investigators,’ it added.
Reasons given for the shortfall include a growth in demand for specialist areas, such as counter-terrorism, and difficulties in retaining detectives because their skills are increasingly attractive to the commercial sector.
The Police Federation warned last year that morale among exhausted and overworked detectives had hit ‘rock bottom’.
Ch Con Matt Jukes, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for detectives, said: ‘The complex nature of investigations and our work to protect vulnerable people has made the role of detectives more challenging than ever.’ The scheme is not expected to start this year.