We have detectives from all different backgrounds in a variety of roles protecting and serving the communities of Essex. Find out why our detectives Fit The Bill in the profiles below.

Criminal Investigations Departments (CID)

Name: Jim White
Role: Detective Inspector with Colchester CID
Serving since: 1992

What did you do before the police

I was a student at University but before this I had a number of jobs including carpet-fitting, delivery, supermarket worker and more.  

What does your role consist of

I have my dream job. I manage an excellent team and we deal with some of the most serious crimes that happen in Colchester. I work hard to reduce crime and solve our cases to get the best outcome for victims. Part of my role, involves being the Duty Inspector, sometimes for the whole county, which means I’m responsible for dealing with most serious incidents that happen. 

Specialist training received

Having been serving with Essex Police for over 26 years, I am trained in a number of different aspects of policing for both uniformed and plain-clothed roles. I’m trained to PIP level 3 which is a national accreditation.

This training has allowed me to undertake roles including Detective Inspector on our Professional Standards Department (internal investigations), to being responsible for investigating local organised crime groups, human trafficking, urban street gangs and modern day slavery.

My next goal is to gain enough experience to qualify as a Senior Investigating Officer.

What is a typical work day like for you

It’s hard and tiring work sometimes but really rewarding. Crime never stops and sometimes there is more work than there are officers to deal with it but we all pull together to get a good result for the victim. As a Detective Inspector, it is my job to oversee my team and keep them motivated in what can be very challenging situations. The cases they deal with can be stressful and traumatic and I need to make sure they are keeping on top of their enquiries and doing all they can for their victims.

From one moment to the next, I don’t know what I’m going to be doing. I could be attending an aggravated burglary before being called to a death where I need to determine if it’s suspicious or not. I see things very few people get to see. It’s not an easy job, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What you love about being a detective

In my view detective work is the most rewarding pathway to follow. You will take serious crimes, spend time and effort and invest a good deal of yourself in a case. You may be dealing with one case but need to prioritise a new one that comes in, making time-management a key skill for becoming a detective. You make the links, join the dots, find the suspect, trace the phone, find a fingerprint on the knife and get a conviction after months of work. Then you get to tell the victim that your hard work has secured a conviction against someone who caused them a great deal of harm, what’s better than that?

What in your view separates the detective role from regular policing

Detectives are trained to deal with investigations at a more in-depth and complex level. They use their skills to gather evidence, speak with witnesses and victims and examine data and interview suspects. We work with other officers in the force to advise them on the facts gathered based on our in-depth investigation. This role can put pressure on you but with it comes with great satisfaction. 

Why did you join the police

I have some family members in the police, so it influenced me to join but I did think that it would be an exciting and steady job. I knew I wasn’t going to be a millionaire, I knew I wasn’t going to travel the world doing it, but I thought I would get satisfaction from it. So far after 26 years I haven’t been proven wrong. I just didn’t realise how interesting and exciting it was going to be and how many possibilities there were within the organisation.

What skills are beneficial for those considering becoming a detective

I didn’t realise how transferable my skills from previous roles would be. In our job we learn to adapt, overcome and we don’t take no for an answer. We also learn to think on our feet and use our communication skills to control some difficult situations that might come up whilst on duty. It’s imperative that you have an inquisitive mind as you need to ask questions all the time. As a detective you need to assume nothing, believe no one and challenge everything. 

Advice to anyone thinking of becoming a detective

If you want to become a detective you need to ask yourself whether you are highly organised, have a strong stomach and stamina. You will see things no one else will see, you will go to places that seem to be straight out of the set of a crime drama, except this time you will be inside the crime scene tape in a paper suit and this is for real. However, you need to know that weekends and birthdays might conflict with an attempted murder enquiry and there’s no changing that but it really is a job like no other. 

Name: Rachel Anderson
Role: Detective Sergeant with Basildon Criminal Investigation Department
Serving since: 2007

What did you do before the police

I studied Law at Anglia Ruskin University.

What does your role consist of

As a Detective Sergeant with CID, I manage a team of detectives who deal with serious and complex investigations, ranging from burglaries, serious assaults, robberies, sexual offences, fraud to modern slavery and human trafficking.   

Specialist training received

Nationally accredited detective to PIP level 2 (Professionalising the Investigative Process)
Enhanced interview training
Working in a CID team, I was able to train on the job, by having my experienced colleagues provide me with guidance and advice. 

What is a typical work day like for you

As a Detective Sergeant on CID, the day can be varied dependant on the number of investigations we are dealing with. I review my ongoing cases and look at the live incidents that are coming in to set out actions for my team to make sure they gather every possible bit of evidence to piece together a case for conviction. I oversee the investigations run by my team and ensure that reviews are conducted and all opportunities to bring offenders to justice are followed up. I also manage the welfare of my staff to make sure they’re healthy and happy in their workplace. 

What you love about being a detective 

I love the variety of work. I am able to work on serious cases and support the victims during a lengthy investigation whilst being able to give them the help they need. I love that I get to make a difference. It’s rewarding as we secure long custodial sentences due to the nature of the crimes that we deal with. 

What in your view separates the detective role from regular policing

Being a detective requires a certain mind-set, which means we need to pay great attention to detail and have an inquisitive mind. The cases we investigate can be in-depth and take a long time to pursue justice for the victim, making it even more rewarding. I think it’s good to note that a large amount of our work is office based as we use our systems to research and investigate and that doesn’t suit everyone.  

Why did you join the police

I always aspired to be a detective, as I am a methodical person. I like the details and complexities of running an investigation and presenting evidence in court that results in the criminal being brought to justice and victims having a positive outcome. 

What skills are beneficial for those considering becoming a detective?

It’ll be beneficial to be methodical, organised and curious. These three skills are essential to becoming an efficient detective. Time management and being able to prioritise are imperative too as our workloads can get high unexpectedly.  

Advice to anyone thinking of becoming a detective

If you have a detailed and methodical approach to looking at situations and have the patience to see a time consuming and lengthy investigation to the end then I recommend becoming a detective. Essentially as with any police role, helping people and making a difference remains at the heart of what we do.  

Name: Rory Scarlett
Role: Detective Constable with Southend CID
Serving since: 2001

What did you do before the police

I was studying at University and had a part-time job as a barman. 

What does your role consist of

As a Detective Constable in CID, I investigate serious crime by gathering evidence, preparing cases for court and safeguarding victims. I take statements and hold video interviews to secure victim and witness accounts. I also gather other evidence that includes CCTV, forensics and identifying witnesses. We piece all of the information together to form a strong case for prosecution. If the Crown Prosecution Service charges the suspect, we then prepare a case for court. 

Specialist training received

Nationally accredited detective to PIP level 2 (Professionalising the Investigative Process)

What is a typical work day like for you

It’s busy- we deal with our ongoing investigations which include assault, burglaries, robberies and other serious crime. We also deal with live incidents as they happen. We could be in the office one minute but at the scene of a stabbing the next. 

What you love about being a detective

We deal with investigations from the beginning to the end. It’s rewarding to be able to tell a victim we have secured a lengthy prison sentence against the person who has caused them harm.  The team I work with are fantastic. We work hard together and support each other. It’s a mature environment where we try our hardest to get the best possible outcome for the victim. 

What in your view separates the detective role from regular policing

It’s more of an investigative mind-set. Compared to regular policing, we are responsible for investigations until the point of final conviction. 

Why did you join the police

I wanted to do my bit for society by helping people. 

What skills are beneficial for those considering becoming a detective

You need to be thorough, concise and professional. You also need to be resilient and ready to be responsible for dealing with some serious and emotional cases. Being a team player comes in useful too, as we don’t solve these cases by ourselves! 

Advice to anyone thinking of becoming a detective

It’s enjoyable and fulfilling but make sure it’s for you. Everyone thinks it’s going to be like a cop show but it’s so much more than that. It’s serious, challenging but worth every minute! 

Name: Claire Strachan
Role: Detective Constable with Clacton CID
Serving since: 2009

What did you do before the police

Civilian Security Officer for the Ministry of Defence

What does your role consist of

As a Detective Constable with CID, my role consists of investigating serious and complex crime. I deal with and support vulnerable victims, apprehend offenders, interview suspects, attend court for trial, gather evidence and prepare a case for court. 

Specialist training received

Accredited detective to level two
Advanced Achieving Best Evidence interview course
ANPR course

What is a typical work day like for you

My day starts by attending a team briefing where we’re kept up to date with all cases and allocated any new cases. We investigate and gather evidence, talk to victims and identify suspects. We make sure our evidence is strong enough for a conviction, which can involve taking statements, viewing CCTV footage, dealing with forensic information, speaking to the Crown Prosecution Service and any other relevant enquires.

What you love about being a detective

I love that each investigation helps me to learn new skills. The majority of our cases are serious and complex, but many involve supporting vulnerable victims. I especially like interviewing suspects who bring people who cause harm to justice. 

What in your view separates the detective role from regular policing

As a detective, you aren’t a first responder anymore; you deal with people after the incident and provide them with ongoing support. We gather evidence to secure the best possible conviction against the perpetrator, allowing the victim to have a positive outcome from a negative incident. I find it rewarding that colleagues turn to us as detectives for advice about complex crimes whilst at the scene of the incident and during their ongoing investigation. 

Why did you join the police

My dad was a detective and I was intrigued by this when I was little. It seems an obvious response but I just want to make our communities a safer place to live.

What skills are beneficial for those considering becoming a detective

You need to be patient and a good listener, have good writing and communication skills but most importantly have a willingness to learn new things and adapt to an ever-changing environment.

Advice to anyone thinking of becoming a detective

Embrace the paperwork! Keep an open mind - anything is possible.
 

Name: Danielle Markoutsis
Role: Detective Constable with Colchester CID
Serving since: 2005

What did you do before the Police

I went to college and studied media and communication studies and had a part time job in retail. I left after my first year as I knew I wanted to join the police. I felt it would be a very interesting career and I would be helping my community. My first job was as a civilian at Essex Police HQ. I then started working on the intelligence units before I applied to join the police at the age of 18. 

What does your role consist of

I investigate serious crime by gathering evidence, preparing cases for court and safeguarding victims. I take statements and sometimes carry out video interviews to secure victim and witness accounts. I also gather other evidence that includes CCTV, forensics and identifying witnesses. 

In addition I am also one of the force’s trained Family Liaison Officers. This role involves supporting the families of victims who have lost their life as a result of a criminal act. This involves liaising with the victims’ families and our Major Investigations Team, answering any questions the family has and providing them with information about the case. I also work closely with the Senior Investigating Officer to conduct any enquires. This role also involves supporting family right through the court process and beyond. 

Specialist training received

Accredited detective to level two
Family Liaison Officer training consisting of crime, road policing and Disaster Victim identification 
Sexual offences training-  Investigating sexual abuse against children  
ENCASE – Computer Forensic Examiner 
Tutor training

What is a typical work day like for you

The Criminal Investigation Department deal with complex cases, which means a new challenge every day. As part of my daily tasks, I investigate my ongoing cases and deal with any new suspects. 

I plan ahead by prioritising my daily tasks. I manage my time and work towards those tasks I feel are a priority. Time management and organisation is important and by the end of the week I like to achieve the goals I set myself. Usually I organise taking statements, contacting witnesses, visiting scene and viewing CCTV footage. 

What you love about being a detective

I never know what I am going to walk into, making my days exciting and unpredictable. I enjoy being part of a big team and we work together and support each other.

What in your view separates the detective role from regular policing

The way we work is ever-changing and sometimes resourcing is challenging but we work smartly with what we have and this allows us to get the best outcome for the victim. 

My cases vary from attempted murder, burglary, robbery, exploitation of vulnerable adults to child grooming. I enjoy investigating cases and interviewing suspects and nothing is more rewarding than when your detective skills help to catch out a suspect and ensure they’re convicted. We really get the chance to sink our teeth into the investigations!  

Why did you join the police

I first considered joining the Police in 2000 as a teenager when I heard about the high-profile murder of Sarah Payne. From that point I knew I wanted to work for the police in a child protection role. I joined the Police in 2005, served 3 years on the beat covering Waltham Abbey, Epping and then Harlow which was really enjoyable.

I then went on to apply for a detective role and began working towards my detective exam. I remained on the Child Protection Unit for five years until I had my son and decided to come back and work on a CID department where I have been ever since. Juggling childcare and shift work can prove difficult at times, sometimes you will be off late and it is unavoidable but fortunately I have a supportive partner and family around me which makes it possible. It is extremely rewarding though when you have worked hard and that results in a defendant receiving a lengthy custodial sentence. 

What skills are beneficial for those considering becoming a detective

You need to be good at communicating, extracting information during high-stress situations and being open-minded. 
You’ll have a high workload so you need to be good at managing your time to complete the workload for your investigations. 

Advice to anyone thinking of becoming a detective

It can be challenging. You review lots of different cases and then have to retain the information to collate it to form a case. Be prepared to use your brain! 
Some days you will not leave the office! Some of our investigation work is done via our computers which I think some people may not be expecting. That said, you get to work with some great people, have some fantastic results and lock up villains so it doesn’t get much better than that really!

Name: Matt Collins
Role: Detective Constable with Colchester CID
Serving since: May 2014

What did you do before the Police

I worked for a well-known supermarket chain. Some of the skills I gained, such as time management, planning and organisation were useful when I became a police officer. 

What does your role consist of

The role of a detective is primarily to get to the truth. My investigations are varied, sometimes complex and often time consuming. I will identify, recover and record evidence in various forms that might later be used at court. Enquiries include, but are not limited to, visiting the scene of crimes, working with forensic officers, taking statements, collecting CCTV footage, arresting suspects and conducting interviews.

I work with a team of detectives but also liaise with other departments such as Crime Scene Investigation and partner agencies such as Social Services. When dealing with significant incidents I will work as part of a team, such as recently with an attempted murder but even on individual investigations we support each other. The combined knowledge and experience within my team means that I, as a relatively new detective can ask my colleagues for support when necessary. 

Specialist training received

Nationally accredited detective to PIP level 2 (Professionalising the Investigative Process)
Cyber Crime training
Open Source Intelligence - this allows me to search for and use any information publicly online as a police officer to assist investigations 

What is a typical work day like for you

Typically my shift starts with a briefing to make sure all incidents are being dealt with. On a day when there are no new live investigations I will investigate and continue my enquiries for my ongoing cases.

If a ‘live’ incident occurs I will often attend the scene and conduct enquires to begin the investigation. 

What you love about being a detective

I am inquisitive and like to solve problems. Working on serious investigations allows me to work in areas that interest me. There is a satisfaction in identifying suspects and bringing them to justice. This hopefully brings some closure for victims and perhaps prevents re-offending by the offender. 

What in your view separates the detective role from regular policing

There is a real sense of camaraderie being a detective.  Investigations can be time consuming with challenges that push the boundaries of my own knowledge and experience so having a team that are in a position to assist and give guidance is great. My uniformed colleagues are at the forefront when interacting with the public. Typically they won’t deal with the more complex investigations but often they’re the first ones to attend a serious incident so we really do work in partnership with them. I work closely with victims to support them and build a rapport that is both challenging and rewarding.

Why did you join the Police

I joined the police because I wanted a job which was exciting and presents me with a new challenge every day and I’ve not been disappointed. I set myself an aim of becoming a detective before joining the police as I felt this was the right pathway for me. I wanted to investigate the most serious of crime and make those committing crime accountable for their actions.  

What skills are beneficial for those considering becoming a Detective

Being a detective requires you to have an open-mind and not to make assumptions before finding any evidence to support it. Being able to communicate well with people from all walks of life is very important. Being able to cope under pressure is also beneficial as our job can be intense and busy at times. 

Advice to anyone thinking of becoming a detective

Being a detective is about paying attention to detail, being meticulous and approaching things with an open mind. You will need to record vast amounts of information so that your investigation is clear and can be presented to a court to give the prosecution the best chance of convicting suspects if they’re guilty. 

Domestic Abuse Investigation Teams

Name: Angie Mitchell
Role: Acting Detective Inspector for the Public Protection Unit 
Serving since: 2007 with Essex Police (with the Metropolitan Police since 1999)

What did you do before the police

I worked in marketing for BP.

What does your role consist of

As a (temporary) Detective Inspector on the Child Abuse Investigation Team and the Adult Sexual Investigation Team, we deal with some harrowing and violent sexual crimes. My role is to lead and oversee the investigation of the cases to ensure these criminals are brought to justice. I manage two teams in the West of Essex. We gather the evidence and interview the suspects and work to build a case to put before the courts to ensure the strongest possible chance of a successful prosecution. I review all investigations and support the officers working on them. I work closely with other agencies to ensure that victims are getting the best possible care and support.

Specialist training received

Nationally accredited detective to PIP level 2 (Professionalising the Investigative Process)
Sexual Offences Trained Officer

What is a typical work day like for you

I start my shift by reviewing any incidents from the night before and allocate the cases to my team. I discuss with my teams what incidents and cases they’re dealing with and provide them with any guidance they need.

What you love about being a detective

I am a naturally inquisitive person. I enjoy being involved in serious and complex investigations, seeing the evidence being gathered and a case being put together for court. There is nothing more satisfying than getting justice for a victim.

What in your view separates the detective role from regular policing

As a detective we get to see our investigations through to their conclusion at court. We also get to make use of the latest technology to help investigations. As a detective we get to interview suspects for the most serious offences which is very challenging and rewarding.

Why did you join the police

I joined the police to be a detective. It’s all I ever wanted to be after growing up watching a number of ‘cop’ shows. It was always my dream and I have been fortunate enough to have been able to achieve them. I’ve worked hard and challenged myself by becoming a Detective Inspector. I always thought it would be a job I would love, and so far it has not let me down.

What skills are beneficial for those considering becoming a detective

You’ll be provided with the opportunity to learn from experienced detectives, so you’ll need to be good at listening, watching and learning. Good communication and writing skills are imperative. You’ll be provided with numerous training opportunities and will learn something new every day. Be prepared to never stop learning.

Advice to anyone thinking of becoming a detective

Go for it! If you want a job that is different every day with unexpected challenges along the way then this is the role for you. The hours can be long but it’s extremely rewarding and worth it in the end. 
 

Crime and Public Protection Command

Name: Detective Chief Inspector Jon Burgess
Role: Crime and Public Protection 
Serving since: 1994

What did you do before the police

College student

What does your role consist of

I find my role exceptionally rewarding, my teams and I safeguard and protect vulnerable victims and pursue and manage dangerous and predatory offenders within the community. 

I manage a number of different departments, these include the Police Online Investigation Team (POLIT) who investigate online child abuse, the Multi-agency Public Protection Arrangement Team (MAPPA) which consists of working with our Partners to mitigate risk around high-risk offenders. I also lead the Management of Sexual Offenders and Violent Offenders Teams (MOSOVO), who work alongside The National Probation Service to manage sexual and violent offenders. 

I also lead the Crime & Public Protection Proactive Team around certain areas of vulnerability within the community and finally, DBS Vetting, who meticulously work through applications from people who wish to work with children or vulnerable adults.   

Specialist training received

I’m proud to be a nationally accredited detective, having been a Senior Investigating Officer on numerous cases up to attempted murder level.

I’m a Tactical Firearms Commander, which I thoroughly enjoy as it involves spontaneous decision making. 

I’m also keen to develop myself and have recently been accepted to start on a Masters in Criminology and Police Management at the Cambridge University.

What is a typical work day like for you

I set the strategic direction for each case and assist with managing them. I manage the high-risk cases that come to the attention of my teams. My team and I deal with high-risk cases and provide direction for sensitive and critical issues. I cover the county tactical firearms role which consists of managing any firearms or critical incidents as they happen. I decide the tactics and what steps we’ll take as a police force to defuse the situation.

What you love about being a detective

I get to be involved in some really significant cases. I love that I assist with getting to the truth of the case and providing victims with the best possible outcome for them. In my earlier career as a detective, I enjoyed interviewing suspects to get to the truth of a case and in turn securing lengthy sentences in prison for offenders and the best part, getting positive results for our victims.

What in your view separates the detective role from regular policing

Our investigations can often be serious and complex, requiring more time in comparison to the incidents uniform colleagues deal with. Being a detective requires an inquisitive, relentless mind, that is prepared to endorse the rationale around deciding to do or not to do something which is required in both areas of policing, but more so for detectives.

Why did you join the police

I wanted to try and make a difference. I wanted to help the vulnerable people and make life better for them where I can, especially where an injustice had been committed. I also wanted to do a job that I’m really proud of – since day one, I have been really proud to be a serving officer. 

What skills are beneficial for those considering becoming a detective

You need to have an inquisitive mind and be a good listener. Also be prepared to ask the right questions, to test what you’re told and be passionate about making a difference.

Advice to anyone thinking of becoming a detective

Don’t hesitate, just do it!

Name: Mark Barber
Role: Detective Inspector for Child Abuse Investigation Team and Adult Sexual Abuse Investigation Team. 
Serving since: 2004

What did you do before the police

I studied A Levels at grammar school.   

What does your role consist of

I manage the work of Child Abuse investigations and Adult Sexual Offences. I take overall responsibility for the investigations into the allegations of child abuse including, child homicides, offences involving sexual and physical abuse of children, as well as serious sexual offences against adults including rape. 

Specialist training received

Nationally accredited detective to level two
Sexual Offences Training

What is a typical work day like for you

A typical day will be managing new and ongoing  investigations and respond to live incidents. We deal with suspects and update victims to ensure that cases are progressing. I provide the team with the direction of our investigations and give them any advice they need.  My role consists of constantly making decisions to manage the risk that offenders cause to victims and the wider public. 

What you love about being a detective

I have been a detective for the majority of my career. I like managing my team and dealing with an investigation from start to finish. It’s very rewarding to deliver justice to victims. I love the challenge of using all my knowledge and skills to try to convict those that have caused serious harm to victims.  

What in your view separates the detective role from regular policing

I genuinely believe it takes a certain type of person to be a detective. You must have an eye for detail, be organised, persistent and resilient. In my opinion a detective has a deeper understanding of the law and processes which ultimately result in convictions of criminals. 

Why did you join the police

I was seriously assaulted when I was 14-years-old, this inspired me to join the police service to help prevent this happening to other people.  

What skills are beneficial for those considering becoming a detective

To succeed as a detective, you need to have an eye for detail and an ability to gather information successfully as you’ll need to present information on a regular basis to the Crown Prosecution Service. You’ll need to think outside the box, understand the law and apply this to your investigations. 

Advice to anyone thinking of becoming a detective

Be prepared to work long hours but you’ll be making a big difference. Be organised as this will help when you need to bring the evidence together to hopefully result in a successful conviction.

Detectives work hard to gather evidence and interview suspects and victims to help convict some of the worst offenders for the most horrific crimes - this is what awaits you, if you’ve got what it takes!   

Name: Luke Dangerfield
Role: Detective Constable for the Adult Sexual Abuse Investigation Team
Serving since: 2007

What did you do before the police

Project Analyst for Shell International Ltd 

What does your role consist of

My role is to investigate and gather evidence for our cases of rape, sexual abuse and other sexual offences which have occurred against adult victims. We liaise with victims, supporting them throughout an investigation, and interview suspects to build a case to put before a court in the hope of achieving a conviction. 

Specialist training received

Nationally accredited detective to PIP level 2 (Professionalising the Investigative Process)
Specialist Exhibits Officer 
Digital Media Investigator

What is a typical work day like for you

A typical day will be managing new and ongoing  investigations and responding to live incidents. We deal with suspects and update victims to ensure that cases are progressing. I support the team in determining the direction of our investigations and give them any advice they need. My role consists of constantly making decisions to manage the risk that offenders cause to victims and the wider public. 

What you love about being a detective

I have been a detective for the majority of my career. I like working with my team and dealing with an investigation from start to finish. It’s very rewarding to deliver justice for victims. I love the challenge of using all my knowledge and skills to try to convict those that have caused serious harm to victims.  

What in your view separates the detective role from regular policing

I genuinely believe it takes a certain type of person to be a detective. You must have an eye for detail, be organised, persistent and resilient.
Detectives come to have a deeper understanding of the law and processes which ultimately result in convictions of criminals. 

Why did you join the police

It’s always been a childhood dream to be a police officer. I’m glad I followed my dream as I love the job satisfaction. 

What skills are beneficial for those considering becoming a detective

To be successful as a detective you need to have good attention to detail, IT skills (including social and digital media) and good cognitive skills in processing information and decision making.

Advice to anyone thinking of becoming a detective

Buy a Blackstone’s study book to help with your National Investigators’ Exam. You can arrange a day visit or ride along with our force. 

Name: Ben Rushmere
Role: Detective Constable for the Adult Sexual Abuse Investigation Team
Serving since: 2004

What did you do before the Police

I was a customer service assistant for the Co-operative Bank.

What does your role consist of

As a Detective Constable on the Adult Sexual Abuse Investigation team we support those individuals who have been the victims of violent sexual crimes.

My role is to investigate and gather evidence for offences of rape, sexual abuse and other sexual offences. We support victims, by taking witness statements from them but ensuring they are supported and safeguarded. We also interview suspects and gather evidence to build the strongest possible prosecution case. 

Specialist training received

Nationally accredited detective to level two
Sexual offences training
Enhanced interview training 

What is a typical work day like for you

No two days are the same as we deal with crimes as they happen. 

I spend a large proportion of my time investigating to ensure I get the best outcome for the victims. I take steps to ensure they receive the correct help and support available to them during the worst time of their lives. This help can be from us a police force or other external agencies and charities. 

What you love about being a detective 

As part of my role, I interact with vulnerable victims which is always so rewarding as we support them during their hour of need. I like being their voice and bringing the people who exploit them to justice. 

A large part of my role is investigating serious offences which can be complex, interesting and above all challenging. However we reap the rewards when defendants receive long custodial sentences. 

What in your view separates the detective role from regular Policing

As detectives we learn the skills needed to carry out complex investigations and take it through to conviction. With my experience, I also provide specialist advice to my policing colleagues outside of criminal investigation departments. 

Why did you join the Police

I was lured by the excitement of the job and it has not disappointed. I didn’t want a normal ‘9-5 job’ as I knew I would get bored. Each detective role is unpredictable and comes with its unique challenges and experience which keeps me addicted to my job - I really do love it.

What skills are beneficial for those considering becoming a Detective

From experience I’d say you need to ‘think outside the box’. You need to be confident enough to question people’s integrity. Finally, you need to be resilient. It’s a challenging role that will test you.

Advice to anyone thinking of becoming a detective

Like most things in life you get what you put in. Expect to work long hours but you’ll achieve the positive results and help bring the baddies to justice. 

Major Crime Department

Name: Detective Chief Inspector Stephen Jennings 
Role: Senior Investigating Officer for Major Crime
Serving since: 1996 

What did you do before the police

I was at college then joined the police after I completed my exams. 

What does your role consist of

As the Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) in one of the force’s Major Crime teams, I’m responsible for overseeing and leading all investigations that sit with our team. The cases we typically deal with are murder, manslaughter, stranger rapes and crimes in action for example kidnapping and extortion. My role means, I can be on call at home one minute and at a murder scene the next. 

When serious crimes, including murder, happen I, as SIO, will direct the officers who are first to respond and attend the scene, ensuring it is forensically secured. I’ll manage the crime scene and gather evidence whilst liaising with the Crime Scene Investigation Manager.  First and foremost, I always direct my team to meet with the victim’s family as they are an integral part of the investigation and it is important to keep them supported and updated. If the investigation appears to have a clear resolution, we will take steps to secure the suspects, witnesses and evidence. If it doesn’t appear to have a quick resolution, we follow this by creating a hypothesis to try to understand what could have happened, who did it and why. We piece together all of the evidence including forensics, witness accounts, suspect interviews, CCTV footage and any other evidence that arises. 

In some cases we need to execute warrants to apprehend suspects and sometimes we required support from our specialist colleagues from within the force, for example the firearms team to arrest high-risk offenders or the specialist search teams . We occasionally use psychological profilers too, to help understand the type of person who may have committed the crime and their patterns of behaviour which can help us catch them. In complex cases, profilers are also sometimes used to help us prepare for suspect interviews too. 

Engaging with the press is also part of the SIO role. I work closely with our press office team to set a media strategy that will help us to appeal to the public to help secure witnesses and catch outstanding suspects as well as publicising our good results.

The role of SIO really is a varied one, our investigations can sometimes lead us abroad where we work in partnership with other law enforcement agencies including the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). 

Specialist training received

With over 20 years’ service with Essex Police, I am trained in various areas of policing including:

  • Senior investigating officer (PIP 3 qualified)
  • Specialist interview training
  • Family Liaison Co-ordinator 
  • Kidnap - both local and international training

What is a typical work day like for you

I never know what the day will consist of. I can be responsible for overseeing any murder cases in the county if I’m the one call Senior Investigating Officer. This will involve sending a detective to the scene of a murder or major crime, deciding the strategic direction of the case, liaising with our press office to deal with any media attention, briefing the team and ensuring the case progresses, and liaising with colleagues in other departments who will be involved in the investigation for example forensics, intelligence, firearms and local policing colleagues. This will be the same for any other incidents that happen including kidnapping and extortion. I also oversee our cold case investigation reviews ensuring we progress these in the best possible way for the victims and their families. 

What you love about being a detective

For me it’s the best job in the police as we deal with complex investigations. The best part is when we’re in Crown Court and the judge confirms that the perpetrator is going to receive a long prison sentence and we know that it is our hard work as a team that has helped make that happen. Our cases can take months, even years to conclude, so there is nothing more rewarding than getting justice for the victims’ family and ensuring a dangerous offender is locked away. 

What in your view separates the detective role from regular policing

Both are challenging roles in different ways but I think it’s the level of responsibility that comes with being a detective. Locating and identifying suspects to make sure a dangerous individual is prosecuted, can be hard and challenging work. There is a huge amount of pressure on detectives when investigating major crimes due to the high profile nature of the cases and the close interaction with victims of crime.

Why did you join the police

I was really interested in being a detective. I wanted to investigate serious cases and progress through the ranks so I can deal with complex, high-profile cases. 

What skills are beneficial for those considering becoming a detective  

It’s vital to be an excellent communicator. You need to be an organised, methodical and an innovative thinker. If you’re not willing to put the hard work and time in, then this isn’t the career for you! 

Advice to anyone thinking of becoming a detective 

It would be good if you tried to get a good understanding of investigations - do some research! Take some time to think about how you make decisions, why you made them and what you considered to get to that outcome - this is how you need to think as a detective and it’ll be good to get in that mind-set before applying. A final consideration would be to remember that crime is changing all the time and this can affect what steps you take - criminals are developing skills to try their best to hide their crimes, it’s something just worth considering. 

Force Intelligence Bureau

Name: Paul Lopez
Role: Detective Inspector for the Force Intelligence Bureau and the Serious Crime Directorate
Serving since: 1993

What did you do before the police

I studied Biochemistry at university before working as a Chemical Engineer.

What does your role consist of

I manage the Force Intelligence Bureau which is a team of detectives and staff who give intelligence support to investigation teams across the county. We mainly provide information to serious and organised crime and major investigation teams. I make decisions and prioritise cases based threat, harm and risk. 

Specialist training received

I’m an accredited detective to level two and working towards my level three. 
Covert Law Enforcement Management - I’m trained as a covert SIO. I used to investigate long-term covert operations relating to firearms, modern slavery and other crimes. 
Undercover Operation Lead courses
I’m trained to provide expert advice and evidence for court about complex drugs investigations. 
Home Office Linked Major Enquiry System used for major investigations.

What is a typical work day like for you

I start the morning by preparing for upcoming meetings, as my role consists of managing a number of teams so I need to make sure they’re aware of our forward-looking plan. These meetings can sometimes involve conference calls with the rest of the command team, Eastern Region Specialist Operation Unit and the National Crime Agency, discussing crime trends and patterns to see what we can do to tackle them. I will also assess information that we receive from the intelligence teams and see how this can support our existing investigations. 

What you love about being a detective

I love that we have the opportunity to investigate a wide range of complex and high profile cases. I’ve dealt with some interesting cases including the 1999 Stansted Hijacking, over 50 homicides, kidnaps, extortions, Child Sexual Exploitation and human trafficking, some of which have come to an end at the Old Bailey.  

What in your view separates the detective role from regular policing

I really loved my first few years in uniform and I have nothing but respect for what our local policing teams do every day. The main difference is that a detective is given the time to investigate serious crime, arrange and take statements, submit items for forensic analysis and interview suspects. We’ll then put together the case for submission to the Crown Prosecution Service and if the suspect is charged we’ll prepare the case for trial at court.  

Why did you join the police

Back in 1993 I wanted to make a difference and I still strive to do that every day. I know the majority of my interactions with the public have resulted in a positive outcome for the victims. I’m proud to say that I have done my bit to lock up some of the vilest offenders living in our communities. 

What skills are beneficial for those considering becoming a detective

A good education helps, as you’ll need the ability to sift through large quantities of information, analyse it and decide which is the best logical course of action. You’ll need to ensure all paperwork is clear as this is important to the outcome of the case. 

As expected, we deal with some unpleasant people so you need to have a strong character to deal with them. I always say remember the ABC of investigations which is accept nothing, believe no-one and check everything.

Advice to anyone thinking of becoming a detective

Speak to serving officers and book a ride along to experience what it is like.