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OU secures a further £600k to fund research into improving how Police investigate cases of rape and sexual violence

A team of researchers from the OU’s Centre for Policing Research and Learning (CPRL) has secured another year’s funding (£600k) to continue their work, alongside Police to improve the way rape and sexual offences are investigated. 

CPRL, which sits within the OU’s Faculty of Business and Law (FBL), worked on the learning and development and wellbeing workstream of Operation Soteria Bluestone, a report launched in 2021 in response to the Government’s End-to-End Rape Review. The report highlighted several areas that urgently need addressing in the investigations of rape and serious sexual offences (RASSO). 

Findings from the Operation Soteria Bluestone research have been used to develop the new national operating model (NOM) for the investigation of rape and serious sexual offences which was launched in July.

The CPRL team focuses 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.  

They 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’ focused on the areas of Learning and Development and Officer Wellbeing.

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.”

Dr Emma Williams
CPRL Academic Director

This article was originally published on The OU news website; click to read the original article.

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