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Major crime scenes in Dorset are being by private security staff rather than police officers. A trial is now underway in the county that'll see the idea tested for four months.
The force is taking the radical action in an attempt to free up police officers for other front line duties, meaning they don't have to spend hours standing by police tape.
But there are concerns this is just the first step in privatising parts of our police force. Martin Dowse reports.
A private security firm will be guarding serious crime scenes in Dorset from now on.
Dorset Police are outsourcing this part of their security to Securitas in a four month trial. Police say officers can now concentrate on frontline policing.
The private security firm Securitas Ltd will trial guarding major crime scenes so Dorset Police can go back on the front line.
Scenes of major crimes, such as murder and serious assault, were previously guarded by police officers taken from their day to day job.
But by getting the security company to guard the scene instead, between 2600 and 3600 hours will go back into police front line services.
Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Cooper, Head of Dorset Police Criminal Justice Department said, "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."
Private security staff are taking on some police roles in Dorset from today.
The company Securitas Limited will be guarding major crime scenes as part of a four month trial. Police chiefs say it will free up officers for front line duties.