THE county’s top forensic experts from the police and county council are to join forces in the UK’s first shared forensic science service.
With both the police and county council looking to save millions of pounds from their budgets, they will be working together at Hampshire Scientific Services.
This carries out forensic science for the trading standards and environmental health departments, with work ranging from testing food and food hygiene, to consumer goods, to water and air standards, as well as overseeing asbestos removal.
But from the autumn it will also be analysing the DNA found in traces of blood, carrying out tests on illegal substances to help stamp out the supply and production of drugs, as well as checking fingerprints left at crime scenes.
The joint service will be in Hyde Park Road, Southsea, enabling scientists to share and develop their combined knowledge and expertise.
Leader of the council Councillor Ken Thornber said: ‘As financial pressures increase along with demand for our local services, we have to keep looking at how we can transform the way we work in order to continue to meet the needs of Hampshire and its residents in a cost-effective way.
‘By continuing to explore opportunities for co-operation, and in this case teaming up with Hampshire Constabulary, we will be able to maximise our knowledge and expertise, streamline the way we work and reduce costs.
‘This is an excellent example of shared services at their best.’
By housing the two teams together, running costs and administrative support will also be reduced.
Chief Constable of Hampshire Constabulary, Alex Marshall said: ‘This is one of those rare opportunities where you spend less and raise your standards.
‘Working with Hampshire County Council, using their laboratory and providing our scientific expertise, we’ve achieved an improved service at a lower cost to the public.
‘We will solve more crime through the applied use of forensics and the council taxpayers will get better value by two public services joining together.’