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Investigating sudden childhood death programme

Respond properly and effectively to instances of sudden childhood death.

This course has been developed to enable the police senior detective workforce to respond properly and effectively to instances of sudden childhood death in accordance with national and local protocols.

The drivers for this course are the Kennedy Report and several high profile cases from which the report is derived.

There are two modules aimed at discrete target audiences:

  • senior BCU detectives / CID managers who manage the initial response to all instances of sudden childhood death
  • senior investigating officers (SIO) at PIP level 3 who manage the investigation into suspicious cases

The two modules are combined into one single 4-day course that allows shared learning and understanding to be achieved through the use of case studies.

    There are a maximum of six places each for senior CID initial responders and senior investigating officers.


    To provide BCU senior detectives and SIOs with the knowledge, understanding and skill required to enable them to effectively respond to incidents of childhood death, thereby improving their ability to determine whether a crime might have been committed, and to provide an effective foundation for any potential homicide investigation.

    To provide SIOs with additional capability, over and above their capability at PIP Level 3, to comprehensively investigate those cases of childhood death that are unexplained from the outset but believed to be suspicious.


    ​After attending this course the participant will be able to:

    • deal with the notification of a sudden childhood death
    • take command of the initial response to a sudden childhood death
    • manage potential conflicts between the needs of the investigation and the needs of the family
    • develop the initial investigative strategies
    • differentiate between suspicious & non-suspicious cases
    • develop initial lines of enquiry in suspicious cases
    • identify and deploy the most appropriate resources for the major enquiry
    • deal with the forensic paediatric post-mortem
    • develop a strategy for the use of experts
    • develop a strategy for managing suspects within the family
    • manage the police participation in multi-agency processes
    • identify and control potential evidential issues before and during the trial

    Key details

    Practitioner group

    Chief officers should ensure that candidates attending this course are:

    • employed in a role that requires them to either respond to sudden childhood death or investigate cases that are deemed to be suspicious
    • substantive inspector or above
    • PIP level 2 competent (for senior BCU detectives) or PIP level 3 registered (for SIOs)

    Four days.

    Accreditation notes:

    ​This course attracts CPD points for SIOs registered at PIP level 3.


    Home Office forces (non-residential):

    £1,027 (1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021)

    Course contact
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