Two former police officers shared their tips of the trade with a couple of crime writers at an event at the Jubilee Library in Brighton.
Graham Bartlett, the former Sussex Police divisional commander for Brighton and Hove, and ex-Inspector Any Kille spoke about helping authors achieve authenticity.
And writers Phil Viner, Susan Wilkins and William Shaw spoke about the vital ingredients for a great crime thriller, creating memorable characters and the need to use artistic licence for dramatic effect.
Mr Bartlett, a former chief superintendent who advised Brighton author Peter James, said: “When I was still in the police, people sometimes asked what’s in it for me? Why do I help certain crime writers?”
He said that fiction could be a great force for good or potentially do the police a great deal of harm.
He hoped that by helping writers he could contribute to helping portray the positive aspects of policing.
He said: “Some people draw their impressions of the police and policing from the media and crime fiction. This is because they haven’t had any direct contact with the police.
“It’s incumbent on the police – and ex officers – to help crime writers achieve authenticity for that audience.
“The public’s understanding of and trust in the police is critical to help them realise that they are on the side of the good hopefully encouraging them to support them.
“Sloppy or inaccurate crime fiction can undermine that and increase the fear of crime and cynicism about what the police are trying to do to make people safer.”