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Further funding for research into improving how Police investigate sexual violence

The Centre for Policing Research and learning has secured another year’s funding (£600k) to continue work, alongside Police, to improve the way rape and sexual offences are investigated. 

Findings of Operation Soteria Bluestone, a report launched in 2021 in response to the Government’s End-to-End Rape Review, highlighted several areas that urgently need addressing in the investigations of rape and serious sexual offences (RASSO). This research has been used to develop the new national operating model (NOM) for the investigation of rape and serious sexual offences which was launched in July 2023.

The Operation Soteria Bluestone team focus on improving the training of ‘first responders’ to provide them with more specialist knowledge, supporting officer’s wellbeing and resilience, and helping police forces to adapt to change.

The team have three core areas of focus for the next year:

  1. Re-designing the Serious Sexual Assault Investigators Development Programme (SSAIDP), in collaboration with the College of Policing, and creating a new course for first responders. This is critical given the specialist knowledge that officers require when investigating this complex crime.
  2. Continue work on officer wellbeing through a survey which enables forces to identify what might be driving their officers’ wellbeing issues based on their learning and development, supervision, level of demand and also identify and prevent burnout.
  3. Help forces adapt to the changes brought about by the new national operating model, including holding workshops on strategic thinking and behaviour change.

Dr Emma Williams, who recently became CPRL’s new Academic Director, is also the research lead for ‘pillar four’ which is focused on the areas of Learning and Development and Officer Wellbeing. Speaking about the further year of funding, she said:

“I am delighted that we have another year on this project. I really believe that Operation Soteria Bluestone, which has now become the NOM, offers a real chance for change in the RASSO arena. The need for better and fairer outcomes for victims-survivors has been clear for a long time and having the right knowledge attitude and skills in this specialist area is central to this happening, as is officer wellbeing.”

“This £600,000 funding means we are able to keep a fantastic set of researchers to work on this. I am extremely proud to lead this for another year within the OU Business School’s new Department for Policing and through CPRL."

Upcoming Events

Jan 15

Research Priority workshop

Monday, January 15, 2024 - 11:00 to 13:00

The Open University, Milton Keynes

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