From training with the FBI to interviewing suspects, it’s all in a day’s work for Thames Valley Police’s Ian Hunter

Thames Valley Police
DSupt Ian Hunter from Thames Valley Police

HE may be the Head of Major Crime for Thames Valley Police, but Detective Superintendent Ian Hunter is no TV sleuth.

In fact, he would rather be cheering on his beloved Portsmouth than watching CSI or even Midsomer Murders.

“I don’t think I’ve ever watched an episode of Inspector Morse,” he admits.

“I would much rather be supporting Portsmouth, watching cricket or doing long distance running.”

If anyone knows that major crimes such as murder and kidnapping cannot be solved over three Wednesday night episodes, it’s Detective Superintendent Ian Hunter.

The Major Crime Unit deals with the most serious and complex investigations and includes the Major Crime Investigation Review Team, who investigate cold cases.

DSupt Hunter not only tackles the real-life bad guys involved in the sort of criminality that would terrify the rest of us, he and his team also have the agonising task of breaking the news to families and relatives whose loved ones have been murdered.

It’s a far cry from his early life when he dreamt of being a footballer.

“I was signed by Watford Football Club as an associate schoolboy when I was 13,” he says.

“I’ve always been involved in sport. I love marathon running. It is a great way to relieve stress and keeps me fit.”

After serving with the Royal Navy, he joined the police where he has worked as a detective in all ranks over the past 21 years.

In his role as head of major crime he could be involved in interviewing a murderer or managing a crime scene.

“I cannot think of a greater responsibility than to investigate the murder of a loved one,” he explains.

“I was attracted to the role as I admired and was inspired by the determination of other officers and their dedication to the job.

People who work in serious crime are people who are experienced detectives who show real diligence as to where the evidence might be and how to find it.

“I don’t think any TV police show can adequately show the demands, challenges and stress involved.”

There has been a rise in homicides in England and Wales from 649 to 739, an increase of 14% over the past year.

There were 17 homicides in the same period in Thames Valley but the 95% detection rate is higher than the national average.

“It is important to stress that for the majority of people their experience of violent crime is very low, but that doesn’t mean we should be complacent,” added DSupt Hunter.

“I recently took part in a 10-week training programme at the FBI’s HQ in Virginia.

“There were representatives from 27 countries, and we covered topics from academic study to networking.

“I was delighted to take part and it was a great opportunity to meet officers from all over the world and share experiences.”

He has one of the most demanding jobs in the police force, but Detective Superintendent Ian Hunter says it is one he is privileged to do.

He might even get around to watching Wycliffe.

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