Traditionally, having experience of uniform policing was the only way to become a detective constable. In 2017 we changed that, and have this year had our first new joiners who have come straight into a trainee detective role. As an organisation, we're really excited to be trailblazing in this way, and now want to do that all over again and open up for further applications.
It's a really challenging role, but we are sure you'll find it to be incredibly rewarding – you'll help make London safer, serve our local communities, and strive to achieve the right outcome for victims and their families.
Over the coming pages, we want to bring the role and the training opportunity to life for you, explain things like responsibilities, pay, benefits packages and what the recruitment process looks like. We hope that through reading this, you will be excited by the opportunity and ready to submit your application form today.
What does a detective constable do?
Detective constables and police constables have the same rank. They have different operational roles, but there are also lots of similarities too, albeit detectives don't wear a uniform. Detective constables ultimately deal with serious and complex investigations. In this interesting and exciting role, you will be working on varied investigations, which could include serious assaults, domestic abuse, fraud, burglary, robbery and knife crime. You could be working to safeguard a child or adult, and you could be pushing a case through the courts, ensuring that you get the right outcomes for the victim, their family and making your community safer.
Being a detective is all about uncovering the truth, while identifying and managing any risks. You'll do this by analysing evidence, talking to witnesses and building trust within the community. You will talk to lots of different people, and have the compassion and skills to deal with some difficult situations.
You'll work very closely with your uniform colleagues and like them, need to police London 24/7, so you'll be working shifts too. You'll be out making arrests, undertaking search warrants, searching people and places, dealing with conflict and also responding directly to certain crimes. It's not an office-based role and it's also not what is always portrayed in popular media culture too, albeit it is definitely interesting, varied and you'll deal with some very tough situations.
Being a trainee detective constable
As a trainee detective constable, you will start a two year probationary period with 20 weeks of training – we need to equip you with knowledge and understanding specific to the detective role as well as that of a police constable - things like Officer Safety Training, managing conflict and understanding key powers and procedures - all of which are critical for all officers regardless of specialism. Your training will include periods of 'coached patrols' which includes familiarisation visits to operational police buildings and later working within an investigative environment – putting your initial learning into practice, before being assigned to a borough where you'll continue to develop the skills and knowledge required to become a detective constable.
You will be required to complete and pass the National Investigators Exam, advanced Detective Training Course, and continue to work towards becoming a substantive detective constable. All of this will be achieved within your first two years, after which you will be successfully confirmed in the rank of detective constable.
You'll be based on a borough team, either within a Criminal Investigation Department (CID) or a safeguarding team. To begin with though, you'll handle volume and priority investigations such as theft, burglary, missing persons, domestic abuse and hate crime, before moving onto serious and complex crime, such as serious sexual offences and serious violence. These are just some of the offences you could be dealing with as a trainee detective constable.
Every case means planning investigations, gathering evidence at crime scenes, interviewing suspects and securing victim and witness statements. You'll then work towards securing charges, preparing case files, working with prosecution partners and handling court proceedings – all while learning about key legislation. These will be your cases and you will take many of them from start to finish and will be pivotal in determining the outcome.
Although you'll be responsible for investigations, you'll also be part of a broader team who will be responding to crimes by managing crime scenes and speaking to victims and witnesses. You'll have the chance to work alongside and learn from experienced detective constables and investigative coaches, so will have a support structure around you to help you best learn and grow.