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  4. 3.35 Operation Soteria (year 3)

3.35 Operation Soteria (year 3)

Academic team: Dr Emma Williams, Richard Harding, Dr Nicky Miller, Dr Arun Sondhi, Dr Linda Maguire, Clare Rawdin, Rachel Ward
Policing partners: All forces
Status: In progress

Cambs police officers

Operation Soteria Bluestone, the national research programme that seeks to improve the police investigation and response to rape and serious sexual assault (RASSO), has moved into its third and final year following the launch of the new National Operating Model for RASSO investigations this summer. Dr Emma Williams and the research team will once again lead on Pillar 4, the work stream concerned with the embedding of officer learning, development and wellbeing.

Operation Soteria Bluestone was a national Home Office funded research and change programme, led by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and hosted by the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC).  It was a collaborative programme bringing together police forces with academics and policy leads to use evidence and new insight to enable forces to transform their response to RASSO. The ultimate product from the programme was the National Operating Model (NOM) for RASSO to be used by all 43 Home Office police forces. The NOM advocates a victim-centred, suspect-focused and context-led approach to investigations based on the research conducted in years 1 and 2. In July 2023, the NOM was launched. 

The focus for year 3 of the project is threefold:

  • To support forces with transformational change to facilitate the implementation of the new model
  • To support investigators throughout their RASSO careers and provide them with the correct knowledge, attitudes and skills needed to professional investigation RASSO. The team are working closely with the College of Policing to redesign the SSAIDP course, develop a new course for first responders and pilot an innovative method to train officers which standardises the approach and content across the country
  • The survey work which was developed in years 1 and 2 has provided a new understanding of the drivers of wellbeing and burnout in policing and will be developed further in year 3 


Title Outputs type Lead academic Year
Learning environments can protect against burnout for RASSO investigators Article Smith, C 2024
Ensuring transparency, fairness, and integrity in policing practices and decision-making processes Conference presentation Harding, R 2024
Re-thinking learning and development and well-being in the policing of rape: Insights from a rapid review of comparable public-service occupations Article Rawdin, C 2023
Preparation for managing change in RASSO investigations Conference presentation Maguire, L 2023
Understanding gendered approaches of care amongst police investigators of rape and serious sexual offences (RASSO) in England and Wales Conference presentation Maguire, L 2023



2023 Annual Report

This annual report features a selection of the work undertaken across 2023 which we consider to be highly relevant for the current policing environment.

15th May 2024
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