Federation seeks better support for detectives

18 January 2021

The national Police Federation is working with police chiefs and trainers to develop a toolkit to help support officers who become unwell through the job.

Karen Stephens, secretary of the Federation’s National Detectives’ Forum, says the work is vital for officers’ physical and mental health.

Karen said: “Like many roles within policing, the job can hugely impact your wellbeing, both physically and mentally.

“Detectives come face-to-face with some harrowing scenes, which is why it’s so important that colleagues recognise the signs when things are getting too much and that the right support is in place from a welfare perspective.

“I’m currently working with the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and College of Policing (CoP) to develop a preventative toolkit to assist with treating officers who have unfortunately become unwell due to the job.

“Tools like this will be vital in keeping the officers we have fit and hopefully attract new recruits to what is ultimately one of the most rewarding careers out there.”

Karen spoke about the work in a blog on the Federation website, which is part of a month-long Federation focus on the role of detectives.

In the blog, she encourages serving officers to consider training to become detectives.

She said: “If you’re happy to do the initial investigation and move on to the next job, then great – we’re all different and that’s what makes the service what it is.

“However, if you want to get into the detail, see investigations through to the end, then please consider becoming a detective. In my opinion, it’ll be the best thing you can do. 

“Yes, you must study and sit an exam but if you have an enquiring mind this is the job for you, and you will thrive at it.

“The courses you go on from witness and suspect interviewing to disclosure will give you skills for life, transferrable to any role. And you do them so often it will be impossible to forget.

“Having previously worked in a unit for four years where we didn’t interview suspects very often, I then went back into the main office, concerned I’d have forgotten how to, but I didn’t, it was second nature.”

Read more on the Detectives in Crisis campaign.