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Senior investigating officers continued professional development arrangements - a practitioner's perspective

A study of practitioner perspectives of current senior investigating officers (SIOs) continued professional development (CPD) arrangements at Professionalising Investigation Programme (PIP) 3/4 Level.

Key details

Lead institution
Principal researcher(s)
Stewart Hill
Police region
South East
Collaboration and partnership

This researcher is supported by the College of Policing bursary scheme.

Level of research
Project start date
Date due for completion

Research context

This study is the first phase of research focused on the continued professional development (CPD) and maintenance of professional competence of senior investigating officers (SIOs) in Essex Police.

The research focuses on CPD and in particular the perspectives of experienced SIO’s and those SIO’s that have recently joined the SIO development programme. SIO’s are accredited to Level 3 under the governance of the Professionalising Investigation Programme (PIP). Prior to PIP the selection, training and development of SIO’s was ad hoc and inconsistent, governed by respective forces. This arrangement resulted in a lack of standardisation and a shortage of appropriately trained SIO’s with the skills and experience to undertake high profile investigations.

The implementation and success of PIP has received mixed academic reviews (James and Mills, 2012; McGrory and Treacy, 2012), however, it is acknowledged that there is a lack of independent academic research reviewing and evaluating the programme.

The literature review has identified research that focused on the whole PIP programme, rather than a thematic focus on a specific part of the programme, namely SIO continued professional development.

This research aims to evaluate existing arrangements in order to support future SIO’s with their professional development. 

Research methodology

This study is founded on grounded theory and will consist of qualitative research interviews of practitioners within Essex Police. Semi-structured interviews will be conducted to understand practitioner perspectives of current CPD arrangements relating to SIO's within Essex Police.

The themes of the research will be drawn out by the practitioners which will be used to understand current arrangements and future requirements, that are deemed necessary to support the maintenance of professional competence.

This study will inform and provide the frame work for a larger study of SIO CPD nationally and internationally. 

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