LANCASHIRE'S first Public Protection Unit has been officially opened at Accrington Police Station.
Chief Constable Paul Stephenson unveiled the new unit, which was created as part of the constabulary's drive to protect people from dangerous offenders following recommendations made in the Victoria Climbie inquiry report.
The unit will act as a pilot scheme for Lancashire Police and, if successful, the force will look to establish a number of such units across the county.
Run by Detective Chief Inspector Tony Ronnan and Detective Inspector Neil Hunter, it will bring together various disciplines including family protection, domestic violence and dangerous offender teams.
The newly refurbished facility has cost around £100,000 and now houses 25 officers from Eastern and Pennine divisions, as well as the force headquarters in Hutton.
Its main aim is to protect the most vulnerable members of the community and to reduce the risk of abuse by those presenting a significant threat. Its opening is the culmination of 10 months hard work by DCI Ronnan and DI Hunter.
DCI Ronnan said: "This new unit has put Lancashire Constabulary at the forefront in the area of public protection.
"Our main aims are to protect the public, prevent crime and provide a service to the whole of East Lancashire.
"The unit will allow us to provide a premium service in the areas of child and vulnerable adult abuse, domestic violence and dangerous offenders."
The unit also provides other agencies with a one-stop point of contact, which aims to break down communication barriers and enhance information sharing.
DI Hunter added: "It has taken a long time to put this unit together, but we are confident we now have a very good set-up that can serve Lancashire over the coming years.
"This is one of the first PPUs in the country and it will hopefully pave the way for others."