After you’ve successfully completed your two-year probation period, you can choose to continue your career in community policing or apply to join one of a number of specialist units. If you’ve got excellent people skills along with an inquisitive mind, becoming a Family Liaison Officer (FLO) could be a great career path for you.
FLOs are specially trained to provide a two-way flow of information between bereaved families and investigation teams. They're usually assigned to incidents such as fatal accidents, murders or unexplained deaths, or disasters involving multiple fatalities.
The role of a FLO is to support the family through the police investigation, to answer their questions and to gather important information about the person who has died as part of the investigation. They need to be able to do that sensitively and compassionately, and in line with the Criminal Procedures and Investigations Act (CPIA) to maintain the integrity of the investigation.
How FLOs support families
- They act as a single point of contact between investigation teams and families and keep them up to date on progress.
- They help guide families through the criminal justice system and procedures, which can sometimes be complex.
- They make sure families know what other support is available elsewhere to help them deal with the trauma they’re facing, e.g. Victim Support.
To be a FLO, you’ll need:
- Strong communication skills – being able to listen and empathise helps to quickly build trust with the families. You’ll also need to be able to adapt the way you communicate to meet the needs of the different people.
- To be able to break down complex problems and figure out the appropriate action to take in the course of an investigation.
- To be able to identify any key issues and risks affecting family liaison.
- To have – or develop – skills in the use of various software packages and systems.
- To keep up to date with best practice on dealing with vulnerable people and have a good working knowledge of the specialist support services available.
Becoming a FLO is just one way your career could take you after successfully completing your probation. Find out more about career progression.