The private security firm Securitas is to guard major crime scenes in Dorset to help release police officers back to front line services.
A four-month trial began on 1st October and will see personnel from Securitas guarding scenes of major crime, such as murder and serious assault, rather than Dorset Police officers.
Dorset Police estimate that between 2,600 and 3,600 police hours could be saved each year through outsourcing crime scene guarding, as officers can be released back to front line policing.
Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Cooper, of Dorset Police, said the outsourcing can have a “positive impact” of the services the Police provide to local communities.
“Protecting the scene is an integral part of an investigation ensuring that evidence is not disrupted, destroyed or contaminated,” he said.
“Outsourcing has been tried and tested by other forces for a number of years and it has been found it to be a very effective way of securing evidence as well as ensuring robust frameworks on contamination or interference at the scenes of crime.
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.”
If the trial is deemed successful, Dorset Police could use private security guards permanently from 2014. Their deployment could be extended to other crime scenes, not just major incidents.