Devon and Cornwall Police have been named as the overall winners at the World Class Policing Awards for their ground-breaking work in supporting victims of domestic abuse.

The force beat off competition from 54 finalists, drawn from more than 100 outstanding entries from across the globe, to claim the overall prize at the new event recognising outstanding police worldwide.

The award winning project, named ‘Operation Encompass’, allows officers and schools to identify and provide support to children caught up in domestic abuse as soon as possible. Over 46,500 children have already been helped by the scheme since its launch in 2011.

Thanks to the Operation, the force can now alert the school before the child arrives, ensuring they get the care and support they need. This ensures that the child’s welfare needs are met for the day and allows professionals to consider further support services for the welfare of the whole family.

A spokesman for the World Class Policing Awards said judges were “really impressed and moved” by the nomination.

He added: “Operation Encompass deals with a perennial issue that happens behind closed doors, affects generations and has a pernicious effect on society.

“As a charity/police/education collaboration it's exceptional and, most importantly, it has been sustained. It has now had almost complete UK saturation and has spread to other countries. There are rightly many testimonials of its effectiveness.”

Operation Encompass procedures are now being engaged by 37 forces across the UK and the programme has developed as a charity with similar schemes being run in the Netherlands, USA and Australia.

The Awards spokesman concluded: “This is an outstanding example of collaboration with high impact among vulnerable children and a national reach."

The force was also praised for a ‘world class investigation’ and the tremendous community partnership shown in response to an arson attack on an Exeter synagogue in July 2018.

The force’s response brought together local CID, counter terrorism colleagues and neighbourhood and diversity staff as well different faith religious centres to provide support to the city’s distressed Jewish population.

A successful prosecution was secured and the way the force worked in partnership with the communities involved throughout was praised as an "example for the whole country" by the UK’s Chief Rabbi. It led to a strong sense of trust and partnership between the force and the Jewish community.

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