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Does organisational buy-in and police culture have an impact on the success and retention of direct entry detectives?

Exploring the effect of police culture on the retention of direct entry detectives.

Key details

Lead institution
Principal researcher(s)
DS Lynne Thompson-Hogg, Northumbria Police
Police region
North East
Level of research
Project start date
Date due for completion

Research context

As we enter the final few months of the government’s Police Uplift Programme in 2023, current attrition rates for new police recruits in England and Wales is on average 9.1% nationally (Police Federation March 2022). The new routes under the policing education qualifications framework (PEQF), including the appointment of direct entry detectives, either through local Graduate Detective Programmes or via the national Police Now (PN) programme, are under scrutiny to provide a greater focus on retention.

The second PN Academy (January 2021) saw 16 new recruits on the programme deployed into Northumbria Police in the spring of 2021 as trainee detectives. By the autumn of 2022, five participants had resigned from both the programme and the force whilst a further two recruits had transferred from the Detective Programme to the PN neighbourhood leadership programme.

The aim of the research is not to complete an evaluation of either the PEQF entry routes or the Police Now degree holder entry programme (DHEP) detective programme. It will address the three following areas.

  • How were PN direct entry detective recruits received into Northumbria Police?
  • How they were managed through their two-year rotations?
  • Identification of probable causes that led to the seven recruits leaving the detective programme before their two-year probationary period ended.

Findings from the evaluation will be used to help refine the implementation of recruiting graduate detectives to increase retention.

This researcher is supported by the College of Policing bursary scheme.

Research methodology

The collection of data will rely on a mixed-method approach involving the analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data.

The primary quantitative data is to be obtained from Northumbria Police and Police Now and will utilise secondary data from external sources. The primary qualitative data will be generated in the form of semi-structured interviews and built around a set of pre-determined questions. 

The sample group consists of mid to senior managers within Northumbria Police and the sample size is being kept tight. There will also be surveys sent to a small sample of serving constables to explore their understanding and opinions of the DHEP as well as an exit survey sent to a sample of DHEP participants who are no longer on the DHEP. 

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