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New Paper Published by the Bluestone Team

The Soteria Bluestone Pillar 4 research team recently published early findings from the project in the prestigious journal ‘International Criminology’.

The paper contributed to a special edition based on the findings from research in Avon and Somerset Police. The publication highlighted that knowledge attainment is not linked simply to individual development but also to organisational learning, improvement, and capability. As a consequence, in the context of specialist policing areas, organisations need to think carefully about how to enable and empower their workforce through continuing professional development (CPD), to support them in becoming both confident and capable in their roles.

The police have received ongoing criticism for their investigation of rape over a long period of time yet changes to justice outcomes remain challenging. Complex areas of policing require effective understanding by officers; without that, the opportunity for change is put at risk and improvement stalls.

The article provides important insights into the vital role of CPD and knowledge in the context of RASSO investigations. This piece explores and questions the link between the learning development offered by police organisations and the wellbeing and individual professionalism. The authors conclude that organisational burnout can occur when a lack of resources, personnel included, is matched with high work demand. They argue for transformational change which makes a commitment to empowering officers and ensuring competence and subsequently a commitment to the public and victims to genuinely improve practice in this field.

There is literally no teaching, no training and I think there could maybe a better input on what is expected of you as an OIC. But you literally have to do or die. Detective Inspector


Drawing on data from Project Bluestone in Avon and Somerset Constabulary in 2021, this paper argues for a more nuanced approach to understanding the relationship between the organizational support given to officers via access to specialist learning, the service delivered to victims and survivors of rape and serious sexual offences, and officer wellbeing. To promote legitimacy within the workplace organizations, have a responsibility to enable their staff with the personal resources they need to fulfil their role (Birch et al. in Police Pract Res 18:26–36, 2017). Considering this in the context of policing, by applying organizational justice theory this piece argues that limited access to effective learning in the RASSO field can impact on personal feelings of competence and officer wellbeing within the workplace. The research found that the lack of formal learning resulted in practitioners learning from their own and their peers’ experiences and errors with limited time for critical reflection. Moving forward, the authors argue for a commitment to the input of specialist expert knowledge in the area of RASSO with time allocated for officers to apply and critically evaluate such learning in a practical context.

Read the full article here.

For furtrher information about the project, please contact the Bluestone Team.

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