Ground-breaking work supporting child victims of domestic abuse has led to Devon and Cornwall Police being named overall winners at the World Class Policing.

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

The domestic violence project, named ‘Operation Encompass’, allows officers and schools to identify and support children caught up in domestic abuse as soon as possible.

More than 46,500 children have already been helped by the scheme since its launch in 2011 and it is now operated in almost every part of the UK, as well as spread to other countries including the Netherlands, USA and Australia.

The force can now alert a school before the child arrives, ensuring they get the care and support they need.

A spokesperson 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.

“There are rightly many testimonials of its effectiveness.”

Knowing the Operation Encompass support is in place, some children have even self-referred to the school’s welfare teams.

In the past, officers said they felt “ashamed and guilty” because there was no practical support in place help to children going through the trauma of domestic abuse, but now they can reassure families that help is available.

The force was also praised for a “world class investigation” into an arson attack on an Exeter synagogue in July 2018.

A successful prosecution was made and the way the force worked with the communities involved was praised as an “example for the whole country” by the UK’s Chief Rabbi.

The awards took place at the Grosvenor Hotel in Park Lane, London and were presented by broadcaster Jeremy Vine.