Sharing forensics

POLICE forces in the South West have agreed to pursue a new regional forensic services collaboration, aiming to provide a new streamlined stateof- the-art service saving millions of pounds a year.

Phase 1 of the scheme looks at Fingerprint Bureaux, Chemical Enhancement Laboratories and Forensic Submissions Units.

The proposals could initially save the five forces involved – Wiltshire, Avon and Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, Dorset and Gloucestershire – a total of around £1.9 million.

The collaboration programme was given the green light at a South West regional meeting of Chief Constables and Police and Crime Commissioners, hosted at the headquarters of Avon and Somerset Police.

Wiltshire Police Chief Constable Pat Geenty said: “This is an important and positive step for regional collaboration and one that I fully support.

“This agreement will ensure that Wiltshire, alongside the other four forces involved, can continue to provide the best possible forensic service provision.”

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, Angus Macpherson, said: “I am committed to collaborating with my regional colleagues to provide good value for the taxpayers whilst maintaining a good policing service to the people we serve.

“This agreement on regional forensic services will deliver real savings coupled with state-of-the-art resources.”

The decision to collaborate follows several months of negotiation between the forces in an effort to reduce budgets and increase efficiency for the future.

The current total cost of the Phase 1 forensic services across the five forces is £10.8m, with the initial potential savings identified from the proposals standing at £1.9m.

However by 2018-19, it is forecast that savings from the collaborative project could be as high as £6.6m.

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