What is takes to be a member of Honiton CID

LIFE as a detective conjures up images of a cigar-smoking sleuth in a mac. But, for Honiton CID detective Steve Harrison, this couldn t be further from the truth.

LIFE as a detective conjures up images of a cigar-smoking sleuth in a mac. But, for Honiton CID detective Steve Harrison, this couldn't be further from the truth.

With 24 years of experience in the police force, he maintains working with the public is key to crime solving.

His office is tasked with investigating more serious crime - such as rape, suspicious deaths, robbery and fraud.

And in his search for truth, he partly relies on intelligence from the public.

He said: "For me, one of the most important things any policeman can do is to be able to talk to the public whom he serves - as the service could not function without their co-operation.

"We rely on intelligence and people to have the confidence to come forward and be witnesses in prosecution case."

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"I think, in general, the public have a real expectation of what we can do. It is particularly important to understand the hopes and expectations of the victim at an early stage. Victim satisfaction is paramount."

His role involves interviewing suspects and witnesses, gathering evidence, dealing with forensics and preparing a file for the Crown Prosecution Service.

He says one of the attractions of the job is that no two days are the same.

He said: "There is no such thing as a typical day. You can never anticipate what the day will hold - who's in custody, or what you'll have to deal with."

He also liaises with various organisations, such as banks when tackling fraud cases.

With sexual offences, he investigates the case and a Sexual Offence Liaison Officer is appointed, whose role is to provide support for the victim.

"It is more sensitive and offers the victim the continuity of dealing with one person," he said.

He finds it a rewarding, but challenging job.

He said: "Dealing with very distraught victims of crime can be difficult.

"But I think you realise you do everything you can as part of your investigation, but sometimes you can't always get the result that people want.

"It's not always for the faint-hearted, but, thankfully, such cases are rare.

"However, most times, your work shows, if nothing else, the truth about what happened."

A successful applicant, who will have passed an initial exam to become a detective, trains for four weeks at police headquarters.

They would then be sent to a station where they would be tutored by an experienced detective. The training process lasts for around six months.

Dc Harrison received a long service and good conduct medal last year.

And only last month he was awarded Chief Constable's Commendation for his work.

He said: "I think everyone likes to have their work noted by their bosses - and it doesn't come any higher than that."

For further information on joining the police force, call (01392) 452020.