Meet… Detective Chief Inspector Rich Jarvis
Age at joining: 25 years old
Length of Service: Nearly 20 years
What attracted you to policing?
I achieved a BA(Hons) degree in Communication and Media Studies in Southampton. Whilst at University I met up with my older sister quite frequently (mainly to get free meals off her) who had joined Hampshire Police and had just become a detective in the Child Abuse Investigation Unit (CAIU) (she’s now with TVP). This was when the first seed was planted as she was helping the most vulnerable and prosecuting some of the most hideous you could imagine. I was fascinated from the off.
When I left University, I spent about 2 years doing Hospital Radio, which wasn’t all just about presenting, but engaging with all the patients and trying to make a difference to their day. Here I would say the second seed was planted, but the last came after travelling Australia in a camper van with some friends where every day was a different and on occasions challenging as we broke down twice in the outback.
When I returned to the UK, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted a career which was active where you could help and support people, investigate serious crime and make a difference, so applied to Thames Valley Police (TVP).
Fortunately, I got through the interview, fitness and grammar tests and joined Bracknell in 2003 which I still have very fond memories of. The team and culture of that station really shaped me, and I was very fortunate to have such a supportive and welcoming team. I had an excellent tutor who really inspired me and was a role model (PC Mike Keane). Unfortunately, a few years later the world lost Mike to cancer, but his foundations of who he was and how he policed, still stays with me.
I completed various attachments and worked in the Neighbourhood Policing Team (NHPT) for two years before applying for a detective post in Slough’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID). This was a fascinating place to work and one which I would recommend to anyone. The cases were really interesting and diverse, the place was buzzing and the team work was exceptional. I was fortunate to work with one of the best DIs you could ever wish to work for. His leadership and enthusiasm for crime was exceptional and mirrored by my later DI in CAIU where I worked as a DS. Both DIs created such an enthusiastic and warm culture that everyone wanted to be part of which I try to create within my teams today. My previous DCI, C/Insp and Supt at Reading were of similar nature who really believed in me which gave me the drive and support to get promoted last year.
Becoming a detective was the best decision I have made in the police. It’s helped me hugely in all my roles, helped me manage risk and provided strong foundations in all my decision making.
What does a day-to-day look like for a detective?
Similar to uniform roles, being a detective varies day to day. You don’t know what you are coming into and everyday is different. You will have ongoing work but cannot predict what happens overnight or during the day. You may come into work and it all seems fairly quiet, but then all of a sudden a serious crime is reported and you head out to it. The adrenaline rush, is like no other. The immediate support you can provide to a victim, kick starting key enquiries at scene, arresting a perpetrator, is phenomenal. You can really make an immediate difference to the crime we investigate and the victim’s life and wellbeing.
I would also change the question to reflect overnight as at times you form part of a small team and assist with serious crime overnight. This is a really exciting opportunity and a great chance to shape a really serious investigation from the off, working hand in hand with uniform teams. Without this exposure, I would not have been promoted to Sergeant.
What’s it like to work in Domestic Abuse & Stalking?
I work with an incredibly supportive, enthusiastic and ambitious Supt (D/Supt Kelly Gardner). Her leadership and creative ideas are exceptional. Her enthusiasm and leadership qualities are reflected in my counterpart in the north of the force.
We are very fortunate having some of the best DIs and DS’ you could wish to work with and this is reflected in the DCs and Police Staff. The passion for supporting the most vulnerable and making a difference oozes through the teams which is really refreshing to see. The cases are exceptional with some life changing.
Additional support to the stalking framework already provided by TVP is really beginning to take off. The DS’ involved in this project have already provided some exceptional support to the victims and investigations. They will shortly be joined by independent Stalking Advocates from AuroraND who will provide additional support to some of our most vulnerable victims. Work with the Stalking Charity the Suzy Lamplugh Trust is also just around the corner, who will provide additional training and guidance for our officers. I am really excited about the future, shaping TVP support for these investigations and working in partnership.
What makes a great detective?
Right now, being a Detective couldn’t be better, and equally, couldn’t be as more rewarding. There are so many departments to work in and all offer different types of cases and experiences to get involved with. All will provide opportunities in working towards your next step or provide skills and experiences which can used when thinking about promotion.
So what makes a great detective? I would strongly suggest enthusiasm, positivity, caring, going the extra step, and asking ‘why’ or ‘how’ to facts/details presented to you.
How did your career in policing progress?
When I first joined Thames Valley I really wanted to get into the Proactive world and thoroughly enjoyed plain clothes work in high crime areas. Within my first two years, I was fortunate enough to be given a one week attachment to Bracknell CID. I won’t lie, I didn’t want to be stuck behind a desk and be station bound from what people had told me and wasn’t looking forward to it. However, those people couldn’t be more wrong. It was a fascinating week where I managed a S18 GBH case where a male (well known to the LPA) had attacked another male with a knife. I was fortunate enough to have my attachment extended to continue with the case and take it to court.
I learnt so much and found supporting a vulnerable victim extremely rewarding. That case and the detectives I worked with shaped my career and I am always extremely grateful for this experience. I wasn’t desk bound, I wasn’t just dealing with ‘paperwork’, I wasn’t being prevented from being proactive. I was out there helping coordinate arrest attempts, working with NHPT to support community tensions, identifying further lines of enquiry and developing intelligence. I worked with officers and staff that created the culture of belief and one which I retain at my core and have tried to replicate in all the teams I have gone on to manage. From that one experience I knew exactly what I wanted to do next, I wanted to become a Detective.
What would you say to someone considering becoming a detective?
When you join, some of you may already know what you want to do next, whereas some of you will be thinking about a variety of options. This is another reason why the police is such a great career. There are so many avenues you can go down and so many different roles you can get involved with. It’s a career for life and one your loved ones and friends will be fascinated about.
My advice to those thinking of becoming a detective is to throw yourself into the deep end. Put yourself forward to take on serious crime, lead on volume crime, deal with prisoner handovers and work with other departments as much as possible. Take on criminal investigations that are new to you and ones which will test you. This will really develop your skills as you move forward in your career. Anything you learn pass onto your team as this will really help them.
I have been fortunate enough to run Investigation and Safeguarding for Reading Festival over the last few years. Reading Festival is fascinating to be part of and one I will be putting my name for again next year. I would strongly recommend volunteering for this team or other operations where there are investigative positions in order to develop your skills and lead on different crime. It’s never too soon to get involved in operations like this and you will have the right support behind you.
I couldn’t get through my Rest Days without….
My family, having a really supportive wife (also with TVP), co-coaching my son’s football team, exercise, 80s films (massive fan of Back to the Future), Spotify and Fantasy Football.
Thames Valley Police (TVP) is actively looking for people to be the difference they want to see in their communities. To find out more about a policing career with TVP and our Detective entry routes, please visit our Police Officer page.