A year in the life of a Police Now detective: DC Ethan Knight
Tuesday 9th January 2024
Detective Constable Ethan Knight joined South Yorkshire Police in 2022 via Police Now’s National Detective Programme, which supports graduates and career-changers to become outstanding investigators across England and Wales.
Ethan’s route into policing took him from a mortgage consultant at a leading UK bank to a frontline investigator.
Since joining the programme, Ethan has worked on a number of cases, including ensuring that a child rapist is serving nineteen years behind bars. He also led investigations which saw a domestic abuser and a robber who threatened retail staff with a syringe both sent to prison for two years.
Ethan tells us more about the past year as a Police Now detective.
What is it like being a Police Now detective?
Having decided I wanted to become a police officer, Police Now’s National Detective Programme seemed like the best entry route for me. I was keen to find a programme that would develop me personally as well as professionally, as both a detective and a leader. Police Now was the obvious choice in that respect, given the excellent wrap-around support and training the programme provides.
My training began with a 13-week residential academy in 2022, where we learnt core policing and leadership skills and knowledge. I then had the opportunity to spend time gaining frontline experience in my force’s Response team and the Criminal Investigation Department.
I work on a variety of cases as a trainee detective, from burglaries and fraud to sexual abuse. They’re often long and complex, and require working with victims, suspects, force colleagues and partner agencies to gather the evidence you need. I now work in Rotherham’s Protecting Vulnerable People team where we deal with cases involving children and vulnerable adults.
I have also had the opportunity to undertake a university qualification and work with my own Police Now Personal Development Coach to guide me throughout the programme, which has been invaluable so far.
What were your highlights from last year?
There were three main highlights for me from 2023.
Before joining Police Now, I spent four years in a police staff role working alongside detectives to support investigations. When I became a warranted officer via Police Now’s detective programme in 2022, I was able to oversee the court processes for two cases I’d investigated previously, both of which saw positive court results in 2023.
The first case involved a young victim who had started to disclose details of sexual abuse. The child was unwilling to speak to non-uniformed officers as they struggled to believe they were real police officers. When I became involved in the case, I visited in my police staff uniform with my radio (to look the part!), and we slowly began to develop a rapport. Over time, I worked with the family, social workers, and a registered child intermediary, to support the child to feel comfortable and share the details we needed for evidence.
Thanks to the child’s immense bravery, we were able to secure the evidence necessary and in July last year, the perpetrator was sentenced to 19 years in prison, plus an additional year on licence. He was also placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life and given a lifelong Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).
What happened to that child is horrific, but I take some comfort in knowing that we were able to secure justice for them and hopefully make their life a little bit better.
The other case involved a violent man who assaulted his wife in 2016. This case was particularly tricky because it was reported three years after the incident took place, meaning we didn’t have any photographic evidence and I had to think creatively about how to source alternative evidence. Thanks to the thorough efforts of our social care colleagues, I was able to sift through previous social care and school records to identify information that corroborated the level of injury the victim had reported. As a result of this crucial evidence, the perpetrator was eventually sentenced to two years in prison at Sheffield Crown Court in October. I hope this gives victims some reassurance that we will always investigate crimes regardless of whether they happened yesterday or a long time ago.
The final result relates to a case I investigated last year, which involved a dangerous individual who was known for shoplifting in a local supermarket, and on one of those occasions threatened staff with a syringe as they confronted him. I’m pleased to say that individual is now spending two years behind bars thanks to the evidence my colleagues and I collected.
For these first two cases I was presented with the District Commander’s ‘Good Work Minute’, which recognises great work across the force. This was a hugely proud moment for me from the last year.
Being a detective is a very challenging role but knowing that the work I’ve done has kept three dangerous individuals off the streets makes it all worth it.
Detective Chief Inspector Sam Blakemore had this to say about Ethan’s achievements:
“The sentences secured in these serious and emotive cases are testament to DC Knight’s dedication to pursuing justice and his careful efforts to patiently build a strong rapport and trust with victims.
“DC Knight has utilised the valuable experience gained as an Investigations Officer and continued to develop these skills in his training as a Detective Constable. He has demonstrated he holds the professionalism, care and diligence required to be an exceptional officer and the Good Work Minute award is recognition of this.”
What are you looking forward to in 2024?
I’m mainly excited about continuing to improve as a detective. I’ll be graduating Police Now’s programme this year, so I’m feeling very hopeful about where my career as a detective will take me next. I think my main aim will be to spend time in different departments, to ensure that I keep learning from other teams and experienced officers and ultimately become a really well-rounded detective.