Staffordshire Forensic Partnership
The partnership was introduced by John Beckwith Head of Forensic Services, Staffordshire Police & Andrew Jackson the then Academic Group Leader, Forensic and Crime Sciences Department, Staffordshire University who both realised the benefits of developing a partnership including training and development, student placements and development projects.
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.
There was also a great fit with the ever changing and developing forensic environment, and the challenging financial climate within the Public Sector.
John and Andrew’s initial vision has been developed into an integrated partnership incorporating on a formal footing between Staffordshire Police, Staffordshire University and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. It continues to grow from strength to strength.
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The main aims of the partnership are to:
- Create a Police and University partnership that will engage creative energy, push the boundaries and challenge academia and policing to transform forensic science
- Explore ways to secure justice through evidence capture, enhancement, interpretation and its presentation which is revolutionary
- Deliver leading-edge services and products from all areas of forensic science to policing and the courts; securing justice for victims, the local community and society as a whole
Methods for Delivery
Delivery of these aims will be through a mix of methods which will include, but are not limited to:
- Creating a responsive and dynamic Forensic Service which is accredited, cost effective and readily accessible to the community of Staffordshire and beyond
- Integrated University and Police forensic expertise which commands excellence throughout the justice process, from crime scene to court
- Embracing targeted research opportunities which stimulate learning, leading edge innovation and enterprise with high impact at a national and international level
- Creating advanced and superior training and career development opportunities for the forensic staff and students; driving consistency and high standards
- Increased interaction and engagement with schools, colleges, the media and the wider community, ensuring services are delivering to the community needs
- Development of enhanced strategic partnerships and networks in the UK and beyond to inspire confidence and providing opinion to Government, Strategic Leaders and Business
The perceived benefits of the partnership are:
- Reduced time from crime scene to disposal
- Improved innovation through enhanced research and development
- Improved quality of investigation
- Cost neutral or reduction
- Revenue growth
- Improve education and employment opportunities
- Improve sustainability
- Enhance reputation
How will these be achieved?
To achieve this Work-Streams were initially developed by Claire Millar, Forensic Services Manager with Staffordshire Police ensuring academia addresses real life Forensic challenges. Each work stream is assigned joint leads from within both Staffordshire University and Staffordshire Police to prioritise and oversee the projects that sit within it.
Additionally, a number of student placement opportunities have been developed which include six week summer placements, three month MSci placements and 12 month sandwich year placements, to undertake short, medium and long term projects. The designated work stream structure also allows for continuity for projects longer than 12 months where needed. There are also opportunities for students to undertake research projects (both undergraduate and postgraduate) in areas of specific interest to the partnership, during their degree studies.
The partnership is overseen by a Programme Board with senior representatives from the contributory organisations and chaired by the Deputy Chief Constable Nick Baker.
Success of the Partnership
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.