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Collaborative training, research and development, student placements and projects will continue following an agreement between Staffordshire University, Staffordshire Police and the Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire & Rescue and Crime.
The Staffordshire Forensic Partnership was first introduced in 2016 and early success from student placements supported their vision of creating a joint centre of excellence that would enhance the service Staffordshire Police provides to its communities, the role Staffordshire University plays in the education and employability of their students, and the overall contribution forensic science makes to society.
A formal legal agreement was signed by representatives from each organisation - Dr Helen Poole, Assistant Chief Constable Justin Bibby, and Chief Executive Glynn Dixon - to extend the partnership for a further five years.
The partnership is nationally recognised as a model to follow and has won two awards for its work. In 2017 the University won the Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) with the work of the partnership a fundamental factor in the award and in 2019 the Partnership won the National Undergraduate Employability Award for the best collaboration between a university and an employer. In the spring of 2020 the partnership appointed a Visiting Professor in the form of Professor Graham Williams.
Students linked to the work of the partnership have an extremely high percentage of employability post-graduation and a number of former placement students now work in a variety of roles within policing both in Staffordshire and further afield, as well as in private business’s involved in forensics.
Assistant Chief Constable Justin Bibby said: “We’re delighted to be continuing with our partnership with Staffordshire University, and it is a privilege for us to give students the opportunity to gain relevant work experience through placements here at Staffordshire Police.
“The initiative also gives the force invaluable opportunities to be involved in research projects to scope and solve real issues in policing, as well as to develop tailor-made training and stay up-to-date with evolving techniques in the developing world of forensics.
“Together we are exploring new ways of working innovatively and adding to our forensic capability.”
Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire & Rescue and Crime, Ben Adams, said: “I’m delighted that my office is supporting this valuable partnership for another five years.
“This initiative is important in providing the next generation of forensic scientists with the skills and experience they need, and supporting them to find rewarding careers that help to keep our communities safe and bring offenders to justice.”
Staffordshire University Executive Dean in the School of Justice, Security and Sustainability, Dr Helen Poole said: “Graduates who have completed project work undertaken as part of their placements with Staffordshire Police have both increased their employability prospects and demonstrated what they can bring to the role. Importantly their work has helped inform police practice, ultimately helping in the fight against crime and protecting our communities. Our University academics also value the working relationships they have developed with police colleagues through Staffordshire Forensic Partnership and I look forward to what we can achieve collaboratively in the coming years.”