Essex: Speeding Up Crash Investigations

2 May 2012, 18:20 | Updated: 2 May 2012, 18:29

A new 3D laser scanner will help officers investigating crash scenes across Essex.

The RIEGL VZ-400 scanner collects detailed 3D images of a crash site in half the time it takes an officer to do the same task.

The equipment uses a laser beam that rotates on a 360 degree axis to record tiny details of an incident.

Trials on London roads showed the scanners collected more details up to 50% faster than officers taking photographs in the standard way.

It also means road closure times are reduced by about 90 minutes.

The scheme is jointly funded by the Department of Transport with Essex Police Authority and Essex County Council.

The scanner has been launched in Essex first because of the county's road links to the London 2012 Olympic road network, but other forces will soon be supplied with the equipment.

PC Duncan Thurwell from the Forensic Collision Investigation Unit said: 'The laser scanner is an amazing piece of equipment that will reduce road closure times after fatal or serious collisions - something we know is a source of frustration to members of the public who rely on the roads.

'It also allows us to build a much more detailed picture of events from evidence at the scene and turn it into a virtual 3D world which can be used as an investigative aid, to analyse the actions of a driver from their viewpoint or be called upon in court to test witness evidence.

'Although the scanner is being rolled out to aid the investigation of collisions, it can also be used at the scenes of other serious incidents where detailed evidence needs to be captured such as murder or rape.'