Police will be at crime scenes more quickly

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Police can target their resources more efficiently across three counties, under a new system now in operation.

Scenes of Crime Officers (SOCOs) - also known as Crime Scene Investigators (CSIs) - from the tri-force scientific services departments in Beds, Cambs and Herts are now deployed by the control room to cover all three counties.

Irrespective of geographical boundaries, the teams can be sent to the towns that are the busiest on a particular day.

The SOCOs are now also mobile in specially equipped vans, meaning that they can upload technical information immediately such as uploading photographs of fingerprints.

“We are the first police forces in the country to mobilise our SOCOs like this and we’ve had extensive interest from other forces across the country, as we are already seeing excellent results,” said Mick Hanlon, head of crime scene examination for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire. “SOCOs can look up incidents from their van in real time and go to incidents straight away.”

Earlier this month a SOCO sent an image of a knife blade suspected to have been used in an attempted murder in Borehamwood to the scientific services department.

The suspect was arrested, charged and remanded.

Mick Hanlon added: “Like police officers, SOCOs are far more mobile, their van is effectively their office. This means that we can get to victims of crime quickly to capture as much forensic evidence as possible, which means that we are more likely to get good results, which will hopefully lead to an identification and arrest.

“Previously SOCOs had to dust the fingermark with a specific powder, lift the mark with adhesive tape and physically return to police headquarters. Now, we can get a much better quality of fingerprint by taking a photo, which can be uploaded quickly in the van before SOCOs return to their stations with other forensic material.”