Dorset Police began a four month trial today (Tuesday 1 October 2013) outsourcing the guarding of major crime scenes to the private security firm Securitas Ltd.
Scenes of major crimes such as murder and serious assault were previously guarded by police officers taken away from front line policing. The outsourcing of scene guarding has the potential to release between 2600 and 3600 police hours back to front line services each year.
Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Cooper, Head of Dorset Police Criminal Justice Department, said: “Protecting the scene is an integral part of an investigation ensuring that evidence is not disrupted, destroyed or contaminated.
“Outsourcing has been tried and tested by other forces for a number of years and it has been found to be a very effective way of securing evidence as well as ensuring robust frameworks on contamination or interference at the scenes of crime.
“Specially trained scene officers will be able to perform this task to a high standard and release police officers back to the front line to perform other essential tasks.
“The outsourcing of scene guarding to Securitas Ltd has the potential to impact positively upon the service we can provide to the communities of Dorset.”
Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: “I welcome this trial which will put more officers back into core policing. It will also cut Force costs and strengthen our ties with Avon and Somerset, and Devon and Cornwall Police Forces who have already adopted this scheme.”
Mike Clancy, South West Area Director of Securitas, said: “This tried and tested method since 2008 has seen a hugely successful relationship between two forces grow now into a third as we welcome Dorset Police.
“The work our Crime Scene Officers conduct is of the highest standard, having been police vetted and specifically trained for such a role prior to any deployment. Our density of branch network and front line staff enables us to deploy with pace, professionalism and the reliability you would expect from an organisation of our strength, depth and expertise. We look forward to supporting Dorset Police in this way in the months and years ahead. ”
Should the trial period prove successful, Dorset Police hopes to see the use of professional scene officers permanently from 2014 and consideration may be given to increasing their deployment to include other scenes, not just major crime.