While working here is immensely rewarding, the challenges and situations you’ll find yourself in are unique. How would you cope? Try our self-assessment tool to find out.
Click the ‘Start’ button below to begin your questionnaire.
Scenario 1 Information overload?
One of the Operations Team Leaders has asked Sara to support on a busy case. Sara has been given a large volume of information to analyse. There are lots of documents, including witness statements, interim reports, legal guidelines and court transcripts – and all of it must be read and absorbed in just a couple of days. As well as reading the material, she needs to identify key points and make connections between the different sources of information. Sara is inquisitive by nature and she enjoys digging beneath the surface of complex information to piece together a complete picture, so for her it’s an enjoyable part of the job.
Scenario 2 The post-mortem
Claire is working on a 'death in custody' case. As part of the information gathering process she needs to attend the post-mortem of the deceased. When she’s done this before, she found it quite distressing and emotionally draining. However, she also knows it’s an essential part of the job, and one which is vital to ensure that she has all of the available information.
Scenario 3 A very busy week
David is working on a busy investigation, juggling a large number of tasks. Because this is a criminal case, he is working towards tight timescales. For example, over the next week he has to arrange, plan and conduct a number of witness interviews around the country. He will then need to transcribe all of these interviews. He also needs to read through a large amount of background information about the case, and prepare an update report for the complainant. On top of this, because he’s specially trained to interview child witnesses, a colleague has asked him for support in interviewing a nine-year old girl who witnessed a road traffic incident. It is going to be a very busy and pressured week, but he knows that every task has to be completed on time and to the highest standards.
Scenario 4 An emotionally charged meeting
Lucy’s current case involves investigating the death of a pedestrian who was knocked down by a police car attending a burglary. Today she’s going to visit the victim’s family. She expects this will be a difficult and emotionally charged appointment. Meeting bereaved families is an important aspect of her role, but she has to work hard to control her own emotions when dealing with people who are so visibly upset, and sometimes angry too. However, she also knows that if she handles the initial meeting well, she’ll be able to build a rapport with the family and support them through the investigation process. In fact, this can be one of the most rewarding parts of her job.
Scenario 5 A long slog
Amrit has been asked to be part of a high profile investigation. The case has received a lot of media attention and Amrit was really excited to learn that he would be involved. In reality, Amrit’s found that most of the work he’s been given has involved routine and quite repetitive tasks. For example, he‘s had to watch hours and hours of CCTV footage, and transcribe a large number of witness statements. Even though this can seem dull and monotonous, Amrit is someone who takes real pride in his work. He also knows that these routine tasks are vital to the success of the case.
Scenario 6 Unsociable hours
Since becoming an IOPC Investigator, Brendan has really enjoyed his new role. However he’s been involved in some large and complex cases over the past couple of months and he’s been away from home a fair amount, working some long and unsociable hours. He’s needed to travel around the UK a lot carrying out witness interviews. On top of this, he’s been called out some evenings and during the night to attend incident scenes, and as a result has worked some very long days to keep on top of his admin. As part of Brendan’s professional development he’s also attended several residential training courses. Despite this, Brendan has had a lot of help and support from the wider team. He also knows that these experiences are essential if he is to learn and develop.
Scenario 7 Writing the report
It’s the end of a large investigation for Temi. It’s been busy and fascinating, but she now has all the information she needs. The next step is to spend several days in the office pulling all of that information together and writing a report. A comprehensive, high quality and accurate report is essential to successfully conclude an investigation, so she will really need to concentrate. She’ll need to include all the relevant evidence and information, including her recommendations and the full rationale behind them. This is not her favourite part of the job – she finds it difficult to sit at a desk and focus on report writing for this long. However, producing a high quality piece of work is very important, and she enjoys the feeling of satisfaction when a report is finished.
Scenario 8 No such thing as routine
Michael has been an Investigator for two years now. A friend of his recently asked him to describe a 'typical day'. Michael found that this wasn’t as easy as it sounds. During an investigation he could be doing any number of different things, including analysing written information, handling exhibits at an incident scene, interviewing suspects or witnesses, conducting house-to-house enquiries, writing reports, meeting victims and their families, attending inquests or post-mortems. On top of this, he has to stay on top of his admin tasks, and there’s plenty of training and development that he needs to keep up-to-date with. Over the past two years, Michael has found that things can change very quickly so he has learnt to be flexible and become used to adapting his plans at the last minute. He loves the variety and diversity of the job - he never knows what each week might bring.
Scenario 9 Building trust
Vanessa has spent the morning conducting house-to-house enquiries in an area of town where a local teenager has been stabbed by a rival gang member. There’s a lot of anger and strong feeling in the community. Many people believe there’s been a 'cover up' about police involvement in the situation. People treated Vanessa with suspicion when she was making enquires, and at times she even received verbal abuse. Despite this, she has remained calm throughout, reassuring individuals about her independence from the police, and stressing that her role is to be impartial and find out what really happened. Although situations like this are difficult, gaining trust is a vital part of her role. It’s the best way to help people to open up and share important information.