A policeboss was left “totally dismayed” when she was read extracts from an article in The Argus about shortages in the criminal investigation department (CID).
Temporary Deputy Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney was one of the county’s leading officers grilled on the issue by Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne at a performance and accountability meeting yesterday afternoon.
Quoting from The Argus, Mrs Bourne referenced officers being on the verge of tears because of the stress caused by their workloads.
Ms Pinkney said: “I was totally dismayed to hear that.
“We work really closely alongside the Federation on these things and it’s the role of every supervisor to keep a close eye and support their staff.”
But the temporary Deputy Chief Constable was quick to dismiss fears that officers were over-worked.
She said: “It’s important to remember that those working in CID deal with the worst of humanity.
“They go through dark times in that, but sadly that’s the nature of the business. We’re not complacent, but they deal with troubling things.”
The issue was raised by a Detective Constable working in Brighton CID, who told The Argus there was a “critical shortage of officers across the entire Brighton and Hove division”.
It was revealed Brighton CID had been forced to draft in officers who had not taken vital detective examsto plug the gaps left in the department, which deals with serious crimes such as murders and rapes.
Ms Pinkney added yesterday: “There is no risk to public safety to have these officers in CID – it’s normal practice.
“There are a handful of constables but they are all experienced and they’re all taking their exams; they are aspiring detectives.”
Mrs Bourne was first made aware of the staff shortage in Brighton CID last year. She said: “We had a very candid and open discussion about the issue and everyone was very frank and honest about it and raised their concerns.
“I sat down with the then Chief Constable and it become quite clear it was a really genuine problem.
“Recruitment had been frozen for three and a half years so we reopened that, which was amazing, but it was always going to take time for those to filter through the system and be trained up.
“There are 42 constables almost ready to be rolled out across the force, a further 60 being trained up and recruitment is opening again for 120 constables on Monday.
“But those officers working in CID are experienced and are always supervised by a Detective Sergeant or Detective Inspector.
“Having said that, hearing reports that officers are close to tears because of workloads is worrying and I’ll be making sure they are getting the support they need.”