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)
Name witheld
Police region
North East
Level of research
Project start date
Date due for completion

Research context

Police Now (PN) published an article in 2021 congratulating 90 detectives on their graduation from their pilot academy. This academy originally had 93 participants spread through eight forces and managed an overall retention rate of 96.77% for the two-year programme. 

The second national PN Detective Academy saw 224 participants spread over 14 forces. Northumbria Police took on 16 of those recruits and by September 2022:

  • five Northumbria Police PN participants had resigned from both the programme and the force
  • a further two recruits had moved from the Detective Programme to the PN Neighbourhood Leadership Programme

This put the retention rate for the Northumbria Police PN degree holder entry programme (DHEP) Detective Programme at 68.75% before the completion of the two-year programme. 

The aim of the research is not to complete an evaluation of the 2021-2022 PN Detective Academy or DHEP programmes overall, rather, it will be to look at:

  • how those 16 participants were received into Northumbria Police,
  • how they were managed
  • identifying the probable causes behind almost half of the participants leaving the programme before its completion

Research has shown that nationally there is growing concern over attrition rates amongst new recruits.    

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, for example, Dr Sarah Charman and the Police Federation.

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 (DS to DCI) and the sample size is being kept quite tight at no more than six participants.

There will also be tailored surveys sent to a small sample of serving constables to explore their understanding and opinions of the DHEP programme as well as a tailored exit survey sent to a sample of DHEP participants who are no longer on the DHEP programme. 

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