A NEW police forensic centre – the first of its kind in the country – has opened at the University of Portsmouth.
The Forensic Innovation Centre is a joint initiative between the university and Hampshire Constabulary.
It will see police and academics working side-by-side to help detect and reduce crime. Academics from the University’s Institute of Criminal Justice Studies will work with staff from the Hampshire Constabulary Scientific Services team to develop forensic research.
Professor Graham Galbraith, vice-chancellor of the university, opened the centre with Chief Constable Andy Marsh.
Professor Galbraith said: ‘This is an important and exciting step for the university as it will enhance the student experience as well as strengthen and grow the research network in policing, investigation and forensic studies.
‘It is excellent to see the long-standing relationship between the university and Hampshire Constabulary go from strength to strength.’
The centre will also house a purpose-designed two-bedroom flat for students to practise analysing mock crime scenes such as assaults and murders.
Forensic experts from the university and police will ensure they accurately simulate real crime scenes so students can examine them to collect forensic evidence for analysis.
Chief Constable Marsh said: ‘Having the right buildings, equipment and support is critically important to the provision of excellent policing service – one that puts victims, witnesses and the community at the heart of policing.
‘Opening the Forensic Innovation Centre, as a joint initiative with the university, will see police working with academics and students to help us keep people safe by detecting and reducing crime.’
The university has worked in partnership with Hampshire Constabulary on a number of initiatives including an internship scheme.
Director of the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, Professor Steve Savage, said: ‘It is crucial for the university to have close working relationships with the police service to ensure that course delivery and development reflect the changing needs of professionals.
‘It’s also beneficial for police forensic specialists to have access to the academic environment so they can keep up to date with the latest forensic knowledge and research.’