National Careers Week 2024: A day in the life of a Police Detective


Faculty: Arts, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences
School: School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Category: Degree apprenticeships

29 February 2024

DC Jim Simpson on a bench with a light brown labrador

What better time of the year than National Careers Week to find out what it’s like to a be a detective constable with one of ARU’s police partners? Here, Detective Constable Jim Simpson of Hertfordshire Constabulary tells us what his “typical day” looks like.

Jim joined Hertfordshire Constabulary 23 years ago as a police officer and has been a detective for 15 years, currently working on the Specialist Investigation Team. He says there’s no such thing as a typical day, but he usually starts at 8am, sat at his desk, coffee in hand!

Gathering evidence

"The Specialist Investigation Team look for acquisitive criminals operating in groups, crossing borders and making money from criminality. If anyone in custody falls into our unit’s remit, we will take on the investigation to gather all related material proving or disproving the suspect’s involvement in the crime.

"Through a process of vehicle and phone analysis, we attempt to link them to other offences of that same specific crime type, and we obtain victim and witness statements. This acts as the meat on the bones of the story and will steer our investigation.

"We work with multiple departments including scenes of crime officers who visit crime locations and carry out an investigation for forensic material.

"Once forensic exhibits are secured, we start the process of deciding which gives us the highest likelihood of a successful evidential yield.

"Part of the team will be allocated the role of interviewers, which I thoroughly enjoy. Suspects are given the opportunity to provide an account of their alleged involvement in the crime. We can challenge their accounts and use different interviewing techniques."

Making a case

"We then provide a report to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) laying out the facts of the case and explaining the investigation. The CPS decides whether suspects should be charged.

"Often you’ll discuss the case with a CPS reviewing lawyer on the phone, for example when you’re looking to remand someone in prison to await trial. It is not a decision we take lightly and needs a high level of inspection and justification.

"Submission to the CPS can be a nerve-racking process. You are in essence, sending them your hard work that you may have spent months on. They will examine and scrutinise the details and rightly so, as we must be as sure as we can be, that we are pursuing charges against the right people."

Never a dull moment

"On the days we don’t have prisoners, we are preparing for trial against people we have already charged from previous jobs, we are appearing at court or trying to identify suspects we have not yet caught."

Want to follow in Jim's footsteps?

Consider becoming a Detective Constable through ARU’s Detective Degree Holder Entry Programme, which is delivered in partnership with Bedfordshire Police, Cambridgeshire Constabulary and Hertfordshire Constabulary.

The Detective Degree Holder Entry Programme combines on-the-job learning with working towards a fully funded Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice, all while earning a competitive salary and making a difference to East of England communities. It’s an ideal entry route to a career as a police detective if you already have a degree.

Find out more about the Detective DHEP course or speak to the Police team at an ARU Open Day.


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.