Detectives throughout England and Wales in crisis

27 November 2017

PFNDF Secretary Karen Stephens

PFNDF Secretary Karen Stephens

Force-level reports issued today on the state of detective policing in England and Wales make for grim reading. These follow on from the headline findings of PFEW’s national survey released last month. With workload, fatigue and stress on the rise, police leaders and government must take action to rescue this critical role in policing which is in crisis.

Nationally, over three quarters (76%) of those surveyed said their workload had increased in the last year and the same proportion admitted to workloads being too high over the last 12 months. Notably, 73% of officers felt that they were not able to provide the service victims needed most or all of the time.

A staggering nine out of ten of respondents who had taken sickness absence due to their mental health and wellbeing said that the difficulties they experienced were caused, or exacerbated, by work.

Karen Stephens, Secretary of the Police Federation’s National Detectives’ Forum (PFNDF), said: “The facts speak for themselves. These results clearly show that detectives are overwhelmed with increased pressures brought on by a lack of resources. Morale is low, people are exhausted and there is little sign of improvements to come if things stay the way they are.

“Being a detective was always a sought after, desirable role. However, this survey shows things have changed and not for the better. The single aim of every officer, detectives included, is to protect and help others. But what these results show is that despite their best efforts, the demands of the role do not allow them to do this.”

In Hertfordshire Constabulary, Mrs Stephens’ own force, 62% of respondents said that service cuts have had a major impact on their morale - higher than the national average, where 56% of detectives said that service cuts have had a major impact on their morale.

In addition, 57% of respondents in Hertfordshire said that service cuts have substantially increased their overall workloads, compared to the national figure of 62%.

These results evidence serious shortcomings that need to be addressed. Chief Officers, the College of Policing and Government need to sit up and listen. They have already been told by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) when they stated that there was a ‘crisis in detectives’ and now people doing the job are telling them in their thousands. If we continue to fail the men and women who work in these roles then we ultimately fail the victims we aim to protect.

For force breakdowns visit our survey hub page.