Members of the public are invited to join Essex Police straight into plain-clothed detective roles for the first time in its history.

The force is recruiting people from other professions to fill 20 detective roles, rather than just from uniformed officers.

Usually the pathway to becoming a detective is only open to those already serving in the police force, but those from all walks of life could now be working on the county’s most serious and complex crimes.

Essex Police already has 670 detectives working across its force, but is now looking for bright, compassionate and enthusiastic applicants.

The salary starts from £24,077 with the opportunity to earn £40,382 within seven years.

The job can be incredibly rewarding and exceptionally important but it is by no means easy.

Det Insp Jim White said: “There are 16 to 18-hours shifts, sometimes you might be going home on the day after you came to work.

“It is not a safe job, but as a detective you do less of the hands on physical than the other roles do.

“You are not out every day, you are not first on the scene.

“You are using your brain, you are spending a lot of hours making phone calls.”

Det Con Matt Collins, who worked in a supermarket before joining Essex Police as a uniformed officer, said: “You never know what you will get day to day.

“I am having the best time of my career.

“You will see things you don’t get every day and that other people just don’t get to deal with.

“It is not an easy job, but we have people who are really long in service giving the right support.

“You have your own investigations and it’s all hands to the pump – you can’t shy away from it.”

Detectives are responsible for investigating some of the most complex, sensitive and challenge crimes involving some of the most violent and dangerous offenders in the country.

The scheme is running in forces across the country, including Thames Valley Police and Metropolitan Police.

Applicants must have lived in the UK for three years or more, be 18 or over, have a full driving licence and not have unsuccessfully applied to become a constable in the last six months.

Candidates should also have at least two A-levels, or an equivalent level three qualification. Applications are open. To apply, visit