I always knew I wanted to become a Detective, before joining the Police. I had family in the Police so I would ask lots of questions about lots of different departments, and Criminal Investigation Department (CID) seemed the right fit for me, so I joined with that intention. Not only that, but I had already pin pointed that I wanted to work within child protection. I started my Detective Constable (DC) process after three years in uniform and have loved it ever since. I have worked within child protection for over seven years and I still believe it’s the best fit for me.
Which detective role did you go in to first?
I began my DC process after three years by working in the Professional Standards Department (PSD). It was a little different in Merseyside Police where I started my career, there was no Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Aids process. You applied for a CID posting and they put you through the National Investigators' Examination (NIE) exam and Initial Crime Investigators Development Programme (ICIDP); PSD did this for me. I loved working in PSD. The work is based around supporting our colleagues, which isn’t unfortunately widely understood. It was a great place to start my career as a Detective. From there I moved into Child Protection.
What is it like being a detective?
My current role in child protection means I mainly deal with persons under 18 that have been physically or sexually assaulted, or neglected. So this can be anything from a baby shaking injury, to a 14 year old sexually abused by a family member or friend, and sadly also Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI). I deal with the suspects (arresting and interviewing), victims and witnesses (Achieving Best Evidence (ABE) video interviews mostly, Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) visits, and general welfare support), investigate and manage my own caseload, and build files for Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to take to Court. I work closely with other agencies such as Social Services, Schools and Health. We all work towards either safeguarding children to ensure they are safe, or to investigate and prosecute when they have not been safe. It’s a hugely satisfying role to perform, I always feel like I’m making a real difference. There is huge added responsibility when dealing with this level of threat, harm and risk, but the job satisfaction for me is also a lot greater, so it’s worth it. I won’t lie, sometimes cases can keep you up at night and/or affect you emotionally. But you develop coping mechanisms, and the organisation/department offer great support to help you get through any tough cases. We all get through it together. The department is good for balancing work and home life as the shifts are very good, we don’t tend to stay on late too often, and I find supervision very helpful when it comes to childcare etc. My colleagues here at Crewe are extremely helpful, it’s a pleasure to work alongside them.
What are some of your greatest achievements on the job?
Two cases and 1 other comes to mind when thinking of my greatest achievements. One was an attempt murder whereby a man set his wife and house on fire after he found out she was cheating on him. I was the Family Liaison Officer and spend a lot of time with the wife whom had survived but was in a terrible condition, and her family. The investigation was led by the PPD and resulted in the husband serving a very lengthy custodial sentence. We were all very proud of ourselves. The other was 2 young women who had reported historic sexual abuse by their Grandad. Unfortunately the family didn’t believe them and they went through a horrendously isolating time. The offender was found guilty and again given a lengthy custodial sentence. I’ll never forget the look of relief on their faces that the Courts had believed them beyond any reasonable doubt. And lastly, I volunteer for the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT), which is a charity that spreads awareness and encourages people to join the stem cell (bone marrow) register, organ donation register and to give blood. Whilst a Detective, and also working closely with Cheshire Constabularies Multicultural Network (CCMN), I was supported in, and given the time to set up several systems to sign up our colleagues to the bone marrow register. Over a 4 year period I managed to sign up over 500 Officers to the register, potentially saving hundreds of lives. I received a Chief Constable Commendation for doing so. Although I currently do not sign people up myself, I would urge everyone to visit https://www.dkms.org.uk/en and join the register today. Its fast, easy and saves lives.
Would you recommend this job to people? If so, what preparations, expectations should they have?
There are so many different Detective roles, all needing different qualities. The personal qualities for a Child Protection Officer may differ from an under cover role, or a Beat Initiative Team for example. But I believe all have a love of investigating, problem solving, communication skills, and the ability to care for victims. My advice would be to do your research, talk to DC’s from different departments, ask for secondments, and see if any roles feel like it would suit you. It’s important to enjoy what you do. I thoroughly enjoy being a DC and would highly recommend it to anyone.