West Mercia ex-detectives drive 'short-sighted'

Plans to recruit retired detectives as investigators have been criticised by unions as "short-sighted".

West Mercia Police is looking to appoint up to 20 posts, mainly within its Protecting Vulnerable People unit.

A spokesman for the force said: "Special skills are required and it makes sense to direct recruitment at people with those skills".

Paul Ford, from the Police Federation, said he doubted many retired officers' skills were up to date.

"Policing does change very, very rapidly, whether it be technology, new legislation, new threats, new risks," he said.

"Some colleagues have been out of policing a long time and I don't think some of them will have the skill sets that are necessary in those vulnerable areas."

He said focussing on retired officers, even with a lifetime of policing experience, meant existing police staff and officers were being neglected, a view echoed by the Unison trade union.

Charlie Sarrell, of Unison, added: "By limiting it to ex-police officers, West Mercia is being somewhat sort-sighted."

Mr Ford said it would mean "denying an opportunity for the current workforce to upskill, develop and be there for the next 10, 15, 20, even 30 years".

West Mercia Police said the temporary posts, which also include back-up support for a range of police admin and HR jobs, were also being advertised internally.

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