The chair of Staffordshire Police Federation says proposals to fast-track business professionals straight into detective roles ‘will not solve issues’ and insists the Government should instead look at making the job more attractive.

Lee Robinson has spoken out after Labour said it would force police chiefs to recruit detectives directly from businesses without having to work as frontline officers first if it wins power at the next general election.

The plan would be for individuals with experience in the likes of business fraud investigation, child protection and other relevant fields would be allowed to join the force as entry-level detectives.

“I don’t think it’s quite as black and white as people think it is,” said Lee, adding: “Simply pulling people out from different jobs and placing them into the force as detectives will not solve the issue.

“They have to start looking at the bigger picture.”

Lee said that putting inexperienced professionals into a detective role would be like ‘pushing them off a cliff’.

“We can’t seriously ask people to just step into a detective role without any experience in frontline policing,” he continued.

“In my opinion, detectives need that first hand knowledge of the streets. They need to find their feet as bobbies on the beat before they begin a career as a detective.”

According to the Police Foundation thinktank, there are around 7,000 unfilled detective vacancies across the country.

And while dismissing Labour’s plans, Lee admitted the focus needs to be more on making the job more attractive to current officers, by way of encouraging those internally to apply for a detective position.

“Of course, while I disagree with Labour’s proposal, the flipside of this is that there is a shortage of detectives - and that's no secret,” he said.

“But the reality is, detectives are under-resourced and overworked. The current state of policing is breaking our members, and detectives are no exception.

“Things have to change.”