Britain’s biggest police force is set to hire detectives with no previous police experience for the very first time.
The Metropolitan Police are hoping that the radical new scheme will help plug the hole of 600 detectives they are said to need.
Scotland Yard hopes to attract people with diverse skills and backgrounds, with plans to recruit 160 trainee detectives by this time next year.
Aspiring officers can join the Metropolitan Police as trainee detective constables with full police powers, and will not have to have spent time on the beat in uniform.
A report by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in March said its 15% shortfall was part of a wider national crisis, highlighting high workloads and the “intense scrutiny” detectives face.
The new scheme, a first in the UK, will allow Londoners to join the Met directly as detective constables, working on investigations as soon as they have finished their training.
New recruits, who must have a degree and have lived in the capital for three of the last six years, will go through a two-year programme, earning an initial salary of just under £30,000.
After a series of assessments and interviews, trainees, each mentored by a former detective, will have an 18-week course to learn the basics of investigative policing, before spending 12 weeks working in London’s boroughs and a further seven on another course.
While not in uniform, all trainees will be issued with personal protective equipment, a baton, handcuffs, CS spray and vest.
The move was welcomed by Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, who said anything to increase numbers in the Met’s CID was “favourable”.
He said: “The fact that they won’t be wearing a uniform is not the be-all and end-all.
“As long as they are trained to the correct standard so they can deal with anything that’s put in front of them should that happen.
“We have to recognise that it’s changing, crime out there, and we need specialists in specialist roles.
“If people are coming forward who want to specifically do that rather than just roll around with people in uniform then good on them.”
Detective Chief Superintendent Stephen Clayman, who leads the detective recruitment programme, added: “London continues to change and so do its criminals.
“Increasing complex crimes such as cyber-criminality and the pressing need to protect vulnerable people mean our investigators need to develop new expertise.
“To meet these challenges and to face future threats the Met will need to equip its officers, present and future, with the right skills and capabilities.
“We will need to ensure we are even more innovative in the way we recruit, and that we look and feel like the Londoners we serve.”
An initial recruitment campaign runs until July 3.
Top pic: Rex