Interview with D.I. Stuart Hitchon of Northamptonshire Police
Find out about the role of the Head of the Child Protection Team for Northamptonshire Police, his day-to-day work and experiences in Child Safeguarding.
Detective Inspector Stuart Hitchon is Head of the Child Protection Team for
Northamptonshire Police and has been in post for 3 years. As part of our new series of interviews with people working to safeguard children in Northamptonshire, DI Hitchon gives us an insight into his day-to-day work and experiences.
Q. Stuart, what got you into safeguarding in the first place?
After 20 years of service, mainly working within Criminal Investigation
Departments, I wanted a new challenge. I had not worked in a safeguarding
role before and I was offered the opportunity to lead the child protection
team, which was an exciting challenge for me and something that I have thoroughly enjoyed.
Q. What’s the hardest decision you’ve ever had to make?
I make difficult decisions on a regular basis, especially when it comes to deciding if we should prosecute people for serious sexual or violent offences committed against children.
One of the hardest decisions I have made recently concerned an investigation into the death of a 2 year old child. I made the decision not to continue with the investigation into the child’s death. After consulting with specialist crown prosecution lawyers and senior investigative officers, I concluded that we had conducted a thorough investigation and there was no evidence to suggest that a particular person was responsible for the child’s death. The family felt that there were people who should be held to account and were clearly unhappy with my decision. I certainly felt a lot of sympathy with the family, but I had to make my decision based upon the facts of the case, and the fact that I was unable to prove any criminal offences based upon the points to prove in law.
Q. Who do you rely on when things get tough?
I rely on a good team to support me, not just my colleagues within the police. I also rely on my partners within Social Services, Health and Education working together to resolve safeguarding investigations.
Q. What are the different things you do in your role?
As a detective inspector I work a shift pattern which means at times I am required to work late shifts or weekends. When I am working outside normal office hours I am the duty detective inspector for the County. I am required to manage any serious crimes that are reported across the County, this can include investigating suspicious deaths, offences where firearms are used or managing high risk missing person enquiries.
I recently attended a senior investigating officer’s course and I am currently working through my portfolio. Once completed I can become a senior investigating officer, which will allow me to manage serious and major crime investigations such as murder enquiries.
Q. What do you do enjoy most about your role?
I am what they call a ‘career detective’, having spent most of my time working in the crime investigation arena. I thoroughly enjoy investigating serious and complex cases and I have certainly investigated a number of these cases during my time in child protection.
I also enjoy working with my team who are all dedicated to their work. But this also extends to a great working relationship I have with partners in Social Care, MASH, Health and Education. We are all working extremely hard together to safeguard children.
Last updated: 17 August 2016