DORSET Police will be working with criminology specialists and academics in a bid to enhance their crime-fighting skills and increase public safety.

Following a grant from the College of Policing, Sergeant Justin Elliott is now the evidence-based policing champion for Dorset.

He will work in close partnership with a number of academic institutions, including the Open University and Cambridge University to facilitate evidence-based trials within Dorset to inform which crime prevention measures, police tactics and activity are the most effective.

Sergeant Elliott will also run events bringing police and academics together to share ideas and knowledge.

This new way of working is essential to ensure that the police service is as efficient as it can be, the force said.

The vision is to build partnerships with academic institutions to develop links for research.

It is hoped to identify best practice to make policing in Dorset as effective as possible.

Director of Public Protection, Detective Superintendent Chris Naughton, said: “This is an important initiative which could change the ways in which policing is delivered across England and Wales.

“This funding will strengthen academic and police partnerships across the country.

“It has the potential to place Dorset Police at the forefront of evidence-based policing.”

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill said: “I welcome Sergeant Justin Elliott’s appointment as the Evidence - Based Policing Champion for Dorset.

“With a shrinking budget and workforce, the Chief Constable and I are determined that Dorset Police invests its energy and processes in approaches that work.

“Evidence-Based Policing is at the core of policing and reassures the public that the police are directing their efforts into work that prevents or reduces crime.

“Of particular interest to me in these trials, is the approach being taken to Restorative Justice initiatives, including the Neighbourhood Justice Panels now being explored here in Dorset.

“I shall watch these developments with interest.”