Elite group of candidates taking next step on the path to becoming police detectives in Suffolk
From more than 2,000 hopefuls, a select group of just 18 were deemed suitable to become a Suffolk police detective.
Among them was Leia Dowsing, whose 20 years' legal experience stood her in good stead for an exhaustive training programme.
The former Westbourne Sports College pupil worked in the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for 16 years and spent the last four dealing with complex cases in the joint Norfolk and Suffolk police disclosure unit, including the murder of Weybread couple Peter and Sylvia Stuart, resulting in the life imprisonment of Ali Qazimaj.
'When the detective programme came up I thought it was a perfect opportunity,' said the 39-year-old.
'Until now I've been able to have some impact on cases, but being a detective constable would give me the chance to have ownership of investigations from the start. I think I have the skills and knowledge to transfer.'
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In July, police invited people to train without the requirement of two years' probation in uniform, in a bid to fill vacant posts and address a national shortage of detectives and investigators.
It attracted 2,323 enquiries and led to 222 completed applications, of which 42 were chosen to progress for detective constable entry assessment. Just seven of the 18 resulting candidates will be part of the intake from next week.
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The training meets all the essential requirements of a police constable, including 10 weeks in uniform, and requires a diploma and two-year probation period.
'I very much support the recruitment process,' said Ms Dowsing, who chose to apply not for financial gain, but to have a positive impact and open up other career opportunities in the force.
'The number of people who apply, compared to how many made it, I think, speaks volumes for the constabulary. The detective chief superintendent made it clear that if no-one was identified as having the right transferable skills, no-one would be recruited.
'I'm really looking forward to the uniform training; to getting a sound understanding of the job and how we all fit together.'
Detective Superintendent Andy Smith said the process was designed to draw out applicants' personal experiences, qualities and aptitude to become detectives.
'We are excited by the potential of the scheme, which attracted a broad range of talented candidates with relevant academic and professional experience,' he added.