GRADUATES with no policing experience could be fast-tracked to detective roles in a new recruitment drive.

Essex Police is considering offering direct entry for budding detective constables, in a move inspired by the Met Police.

The proposals have been met with caution from the Police Federation’s Essex branch, which represents hundreds of rank-and-file officers.

The Met Police this week announced it is welcoming degree holders to apply for detective roles until July.

Successful applicants will undertake a series of exams and a two-year development programme before becoming a detective constable.

Although Essex Police is looking to launch a similar scheme, Liam Osborne, strategic investigative development officer, said serving police officers will still be able to apply for the role.

He said: “Our learning and development team are members of a national working group exploring direct entry into the detective career pathway and this is something we are planning for in the future.

Regardless of whether we bring in direct entry detectives, we remain clear that our existing officers will continue to benefit from the same opportunities that exist today.

“Whether candidates are internal or direct entry, we are clear that we are looking for people with good skills, who have a genuine desire to become a detective and most importantly a genuine desire to serve and protect victims of some of our most serious crimes.”

Earlier this year, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) said a shortage of detectives and investigators amounted to a national crisis.

This lack of investigators is due to excessive workloads and stress among police officers and staff, according to the watchdog.

It added the shortage means some investigations are being led by those who lack the appropriate skills and experience.

Steve Taylor, chair of Essex’s Police Federation branch, said: “I’m not dying in my grave over this, in fact I think there is a strong case for entry level officers in parts of policing.

“Working with computers or in fraud for example, certain people from certain professions I’m sure would really benefit the police in those roles.

“But what we don’t want is to lose those omni-skilled detectives.

“Sometimes a detective will have to put on his police uniform and take to the streets, like in Manchester for example.

“We need detectives who can be utilised across the force.”