A new partnership to develop the study of forensic science between police and students in Lancashire has been established.
Lancashire Police, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have entered into an agreement to establish a Forensic Academy Strategic Alliance.
The alliance is aimed at providing opportunities in forensic-related studies to research projects, develop techniques in forensic and criminal investigations and improve employability prospects for students within Lancashire.
The agreement will give practical experience, skills and professional accreditation to those wishing to pursue a career in policing and the field of forensic science.
As part of the alliance, Lancashire Police is looking at improving its own capabilities, skills and resources to help students with their studies.
Andy Rhodes, Deputy Chief Constable of Lancashire Police, said: “The Forensic Academy Strategic Alliance is a step towards an exciting future for forensic and crime scene investigation within Lancashire.
“Building upon our current successful relationship with UCLan, we have the opportunity to really focus upon a key area of our business with them. We look forward to enhancing our own capabilities, skills and resources alongside assisting students with their research.
“The work is one of the first of its kind in the UK and promises to deliver true innovation and potential growth through collaboration. It will ultimately help us to be at the cutting edge of forensic science and enable us to better protect the people of Lancashire.”
Professor Mike Thomas, Vice-Chancellor at UCLan added: “The University has enjoyed a long and productive educational partnership with Lancashire Constabulary, enabling our students to obtain the practical experience, skills and professional accreditation they need to have successful lives and careers in forensic science and policing.
“The proposed Forensic Academy Strategic Alliance will help our partnership to grow even stronger particularly in the area of joint, real-world research programmes that not only bring about positive social impact within our communities but which also help to inform the future of our teaching curriculum in the areas of forensic science and policing.”
Under the agreement, officers and students are expected to share facilities at Lancashire Constabulary Headquarters in Hutton and the University of Central Lancashire in Preston.
A start date for forensic academy programmes has yet to be confirmed.
Angela Harrison, Director at the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “We already work closely with UCLan and the proposed forensic academy will build on the good work already being done jointly.
“As well as meaning students have the necessary experience and are ready for work when they graduate, this will help us to improve the performance of Lancashire Police through high quality research and embracing the latest technology.”