Ground-breaking Forensic Academy to be launched in Lancashire
Partnership to enable University students to work in an operational policing environment
The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and Lancashire Constabulary have this week officially entered into a strategic partnership that will enhance forensic science services in Lancashire.
This is the first collaboration of its kind within policing and forensic science, where forensic experts and students will work alongside each other in new, purpose-built police facilities to research, investigate and deliver forensic science services in Lancashire.
The collaboration, which was agreed today (Thursday 6 April), cements the plans for the Academy, which will be based at Lancashire Constabulary HQ in Hutton. The new facilities will include state of the art research laboratories, equipment and teaching and training suites alongside crime scene houses, accommodation and conferencing.
Under the new agreement, the Constabulary will open its doors to the University which will benefit from shared expertise of crime scene investigators and forensic science specialists teaching students everything from fingerprint, drug and body fluid analysis through to professional accreditation and laboratory competence.
In return, the University of Central Lancashire will support the Academy with new equipment, research and additional resources throughout the department to enhance how Lancashire Constabulary detects crime and protects the most vulnerable people of Lancashire.
Andy Rhodes, Deputy Chief Constable of Lancashire said; “This is a ground-breaking initiative for Lancashire Constabulary and something we are really excited about.
“During a time when police forces are looking at ways to collaborate with other forces and regionalise forensic science services, we have opted to keep a clear focus on how we can improve our delivery here in Lancashire and joining up with UCLan provides us with some fantastic opportunities”
The project is part of Lancashire Constabulary’s commitment to innovation and has attracted a multi-million pound investment from UCLan to support its forensic science department as part of the new venture.
New investments will see facilities improved and enhanced, as well as enabling the Constabulary to make significant savings that it would have otherwise had to find elsewhere.
Rob Flanagan, Innovation Lead for Lancashire Constabulary said; “This is a new way of delivering savings within Lancashire Constabulary, while maintaining our same high standards of forensic service with the greatest skills and expertise we have to offer.
“Innovation allows us to focus on continuous improvement across all areas of the organisation and where we feel it is right, attract our strongest partners to work closer with us to protect people and deliver value for money services.
“The University has worked with us for many years in our research and evaluation. This new relationship brings us closer together during a time when policing and academia are driving up professional standards.”
"Innovation allows us to focus on continuous improvement across all areas of the organisation and where we feel it is right, attract our strongest partners to work closer with us to protect people and deliver value for money services"
There are big plans for the future of the Academy too; including providing accredited learning for forensic scientists and crime scene investigators with a view that it will attract the very best, talented students and forensic experts into Lancashire.
UCLan Vice-Chancellor Professor Mike Thomas, said: “The University already has a long and established relationship with Lancashire Constabulary and this collaboration will make it even stronger as we work together to help the county take a lead role in the scientific investigation of crime.
“The partnership provides unparalleled opportunities for students to work in an operational policing environment and will help to inform the future of our teaching curriculum in the areas of forensic science and policing. In return, we will use our role as a University to support our community and the academy with new equipment and research that informs how Lancashire Constabulary tackles crime and protects vulnerable people.”
Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: "This is a real opportunity for Lancashire to attract the best forensic teams in the country and to really develop a pioneering learning and development approach to our work. It will deliver real operational benefits and put Lancashire on the map in the field of forensic investigations."