Detective recruit sees policing from all sides as training moves forward

Last July, Suffolk police launched a recruitment drive for new detectives. Pictured is Leia Dowsing.

Last July, Suffolk police launched a recruitment drive for new detectives. Pictured is Leia Dowsing. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The last seven months have brought a wealth of new experiences for Leia Dowsing as she continues on her journey to becoming a police detective.

Last November, we met one of Suffolk Constabulary’s select group of less than 10 recruits, chosen from 222 applications to take part in a pioneering scheme to fill vacant detective roles.

Leia Dowsing was chosen for the detective entry programme, which bypassed the traditional route of starting out as a police officer, while requiring a diploma, two-year probation period, and all essential requirements of a new constable, including 10 weeks of uniformed training.

Ms Dowsing, who worked in the Crown Prosecution Service for 16 years and spent four dealing with complex cases in the police disclosure unit, said: “The initial 10 weeks of training I had at headquarters were exactly the same as any constable receives.

“Once you get through that, you’re in uniform on response – the sharp end of policing – for another 10 weeks, to prove you’re safe and confident to become a Pc.

“That 10 weeks in response taught me a new skill set.

“From there, I had five weeks with CID and four attached to the incident and crime management hub, which brought me into contact with a range of offences I wouldn’t have experienced in 10 weeks of Pc training.”

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As well as knowledge, the role demands the same physical fitness required to become an officer – levels of which are tested yearly.

Ms Dowsing also spent time collecting statements to interview suspects brought into the police investigation centres.

The recruitment scheme was launched last July to address a national shortage of detectives and senior investigators – roles involving complex work on serious and organised crime, and protecting the most vulnerable members of society.

Having experienced several sides of policing, Ms Dowsing said: “I can see why people might be attracted to one area of policing and not another.

“The job of a response officer is very reactive, dealing with what comes in on a daily basis, while detectives spend more time on often long investigations.

“The skill sets overlap, but they have different appeals, and very different shift patterns.

“With my background and transferable skills, I feel the organisation will get more out of me as a detective.”