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Critical Reflection: The Importance of Case Reviews and Reflective Practice in Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Investigations

Published onJul 06, 2022
Critical Reflection: The Importance of Case Reviews and Reflective Practice in Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Investigations
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Critical Reflection: The Importance of Case Reviews and Reflective Practice in Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Investigations
Description

AbstractUsing methods and data from Operation Soteria Bluestone in Avon and Somerset Constabulary in 2021, this paper proposes two key approaches to critical reflection that we suggest all police forces should be using in rape and serious sexual offences investigations: individual critical reflection throughout investigations using ‘Reflective Practice Points’ and regular ‘Case Reviews’. One of the main themes from the data examined is the cumulative impact rape and serious sexual offences investigations have on officers. Given the high case load and lack of staff to manage the work means officers default to a 'can do attitude', but this is often at the expense of the officers' wellbeing. Reflective practice points embed critical reflection in day-to-day investigations, whilst case reviews allow for routine identification of strengths and areas for improvement across the force, basic strategies which should already be familiar to policing. Fundamentally, they are tools which can be incorporated and normalised into policing that strives to embed critical reflection in its normal operation. Simultaneously implementing these two approaches will introduce processes to support staff wellbeing, learning, and development, which will in turn contribute to the improvement of rape and serious sexual offence investigations. Having a blend of regular, informal, and formal avenues for critical reflection is key in the early identification of the different stressors experienced throughout the investigation process of rape and serious sexual offences.

 

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