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Identifying risk and vulnerability in an operational environment, 25 January 2024


  • A brand new workshop that explores  contemporary challenges and best practice for all investigators, analysts and other police staff working in operational roles where risk and vulnerability is encountered.


  • Workshop highlights and explores the contemporary challenges faced by investigators who are operating in an increasingly complex world where they are required to identify vulnerability and recognise and respond to related risk. These decisions are often based on incomplete information and are often initiated in real-time situations. 


  • This workshop explores risk and vulnerability, it discusses the influences that can impair an appropriate reaction and explores ways that decision making in response to this area can be developed.


  • It situates the discussions in real world examples and considers the workplace pressures that investigators face as well as the position of risk management within the wider criminal investigation.


  • The workshop will support and encourage investigators to explore their own thinking and practice.


  • We’ll also explore how the National Decision Model can be used to support decision making throughout all stages of risk management.


  • Held online via Teams


  • Certificates of CPD available


The need for policing to identify and respond to vulnerability-related risk is a key priority for investigators. It is also increasingly complex and challenging to recognise and respond to the needs of vulnerable people.

The National Vulnerability Action Plan identifies seven key themes that should form the police response to vulnerability.


They are:

  • Early intervention and prevention

  • Protecting, supporting, safeguarding and managing risk

  • Information, Intelligence, Data Collection and Management of Information

  • Effective investigation and outcomes

  • Leadership

  • Learning and development

  • Communication


Our exclusive workshop will examine the current vulnerability landscape and provide best practice to investigators to help meet the complex needs of the public and ensure that this is placed at the heart of the investigation.


Outline of the day

Session One: Risk in Policing: contemporary challenges and best practice

This session develops an understanding of the types of vulnerability and associated risk that investigators may encounter. It explores the common pitfalls in investigations where risk and vulnerability are present drawing lessons to help inform investigators practice.


It also explores the stages of risk management from initial identification through to review and the opportunities and barriers that exist at each stage.


Session Two: Understanding decision making and how it impacts on the approach to risk

Identifying and managing risk should be seen as part of the decision-making process in any investigation.


However, it is recognised that biases, cognitive shortcuts and workplace pressures can impact on the decision-making abilities of the investigator.

This session explores how those processes can affect the way that investigators approach risk management within investigations.


Session Three: The National Decision Model and Risk

This session explores the National Decision Model and overlays it against the stages of risk management. This provides a working model to support proportionate and informed decision making throughout all stages of risk management.


Practical examples of the application of the National Decision Model will be discussed, with delegates being given the opportunity to work through the stages to help embed understanding of how it can support operational risk management.


About our expert trainer

We are delighted to welcome highly experienced investigator and academic Dr Emma Spooner to deliver this exciting new workshop.


Emma has 21 years’ experience working as police officer in a UK force and latterly the National Crime Agency. During her time in force, she worked in CID, The Child Abuse Investigation Team and the Major Crime Team.


Emma was seconded to the National Crime Agency for five years as part of the Major Crime Investigative Support (MCIS) team providing advice and specialist support across the country to SIOs and lead investigators on complex, serious and major crime investigations.


Emma was also a Tier three Specialist Suspect Interviewer and Tier five Interview Adviser and part of the cadre of NPCC nationally approved interview advisors


Emma has nearly a decade of experience as a lecturer at the University of Sunderland. She is currently the programme lead for the BA (Hons) Applied Investigation Degree Programme as well as a senior lecturer on the university’s

Crime, Policing and Investigations team.


She is also part of the team that developed a number of work based diplomas including the Coordination and Management of Suspect Interviews (Interview Adviser), Specialist Suspect Interviewer and a range of diplomas aimed at PIP1 investigators or those from a non-policing background.


Emma has also written two published books:

  • Police Research and Evidence-based Policing book published in 2022

  • Dilemmas and Decision Making in Policing book published in 2023


Her specialist areas of particular interest include:​

investigative interviewing, investigative mindset, decision making, professionalism and professional identity, police culture, police learning, workplace normalisation of deviance.


Cost: £197.50 + VAT (GBP) per delegate (LEA and Government Agency rate).  £295.00 + VAT (Industry rate). 

Group bookings: We offer various discounts for group bookings depending on numbers, please contact us for details.

Booking: Please send the delegates name(s), email address(es) and purchase order (made out to The Investigator) to or telephone +44(0)844 660 8707 for further information. 


Under no circumstances will a delegate be able to register using a free webmail address (ie: gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, Hotmail, AOL etc) but you can use one to login into Teams once your work email has been verified.​


Payment can be made by PayPal/debit/credit card (corporate card fees apply + 3%). ​The meeting link will be sent out 7 days before the event.

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