They might not be as easy to spot as their uniformed colleagues but there are over 100 of them in the Forth Valley area each fighting crime in their own way.
Members of Falkirk Council’s external scrutiny committee recently heard just how vital the work of the Forth Valley Division’s Criminal Investigation Department is and how big a part plain clothes cops played in last year’s Operation Core.
Detective Superintendent David Gordon said: “Operation Core ran for three months and during that time detectives helped seize £180,000-worth of controlled drugs from criminals in the area.
“This was a direct response to what the community told us – they said drugs were a problem they wanted us to tackle and we did.”
There are 119 detectives currently working within the division and each one has an important role – everything from crime scene managers to family liaison officers.
Committee convener Steven Jackson said: “I never would have thought there were over 100 detectives operating in our area. I suppose it’s good the majority of people are dealing with uniformed officers – that means the crimes are not as serious as those the detectives deal with.”
Detective Supt Gordon said: “Our overall aim is to keep the public safe. We are working as hard as we can to solve crime when it is reported and actually stop crime happening in the first place.”
The detectives are divided into sections – including reactive CID and proactive CID, the intelligence unit and the crime management service.
Detective Chief Inspector Laura McLuckie said: “Reactive CID deals with serious crime within Falkirk. Their main focus is on violent crimes like attempted murder and serious assaults.
“Proactive CID’s main focus is detecting organised crime groups, many of which are responsible for drug activity within the division. Then the intelligence unit identifies and assesses threats and risks in our communities and the crime management service deals with all the crime reports within the division and provides an auditing service.”
Committee members also heard about the Multi Agency Assessment Screening Hub in Larbert, which is home to the Family Protection Unit and the Vulnerable Persons Database (VPD).
Detective Chief Inspector Wilson Gill said: “Protecting the most vulnerable people in the community is a very complex area of policing. We do this through early intervention, trying to get children away from a life of crime.
“There are various strategies designed to get youngsters out of the cycle of offending and figures show re-offending rates are going down. Unfortunately offences like child abuse still go on, so we have a specialist team of detectives in the Family Protection Unit who investigate these crimes along with partners in social work.
“We also have the offender management unit which manages registered sex offenders within the community. I know it’s not always popular, but its something we have to manage – it’s another complex area.”
DCI Gill also talked about the work of the Divisional Rape Investigation Unit and its links to the National Rape Review Team.
He said: “Forensic aspects are always improving – we are always trying to improve our services.”