Detectives in crisis
Government and police leaders must do more to tackle a seemingly unstoppable crisis in detective policing as morale hits rock bottom with workload, fatigue and stress on the rise.
Nationally, over half (56 per cent) of the 7,803 respondents, the largest number of respondents since the survey began, said that service cuts have had a huge impact on their morale whilst over a quarter of detectives felt their physical and mental health had been affected. Half of respondents also said cuts had led to a substantial increase in fatigue (53 per cent) and stress (49 per cent) as they battled to keep up with demand.
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.
Pete Musgrave, Chair of Humberside Police Federation, said: “Nationally these figures are pretty shocking and demonstrate just how detectives have been put under huge pressure in respect of their own workloads, fatigue and mental well-being.
Chief Officers across the country have and are still having to make some stark choices about where to put what little resource they have, the changing nature of crime into a more high tech cyber environment has left the police service and the detective role struggling to keep pace with the sheer volume, hence why you are seeing some of these statistics today.
In Humberside over the last few years this was no different, however the force is now trying to understand these pressures and we as a staff association are working with our Chief Officers to reinvigorate the detective role, to give those officers their ‘identity’ back and make them feel valued in the extraordinary work they all do.”
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 always allow them to do this. This is further emphasised with over half of the respondents saying they did not even have time to stay up to date with the latest training.
Work life balance was also an issue with over half of respondents saying their work as a detective had kept them away from their family and friends. Nationally, over two thirds (71 per cent) admitted to experiencing difficulties in booking time off or taking annual leave.
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.
A link to theHumberside breakdown can be found here