United Kingdom — Surrey Police and Sussex Police have invested in a number of new Trimble X7 3D laser scanners which will help to reconstruct serious injury and fatal collisions. Trimble Forensics partner KOREC Regional Director Barry Monk, team of scanning/forensic specialists Cesar Almeida, Melvin Penwill and Rob Judge worked closely and supplied nine units to the forces.
From left to right, Heather Penny, Chief Inspector Pip Taylor and Stephen Dessouki-Harman
The nine new Trimble X7 laser scanners will replace each county’s older technology and increase the number of instruments available to the Forensic Collision Investigation Unit (FCIU). All front line FCIU vehicles will now be equipped to attend incidents. This will greatly reduce the likelihood of any delays in getting a laser scanner transported to a scene which in turn reduces the duration of road closures as well as allowing the unit to deal with multiple incidents at any one time.
The forces are among the first in the country to secure the state-of-the-art kit, which will replace the old 3D laser scanners brought in about 10 years ago.
Detective Chief Inspector Pip Taylor, of Surrey Police and Sussex Police Operations, said: “Our investment of this cutting edge technology demonstrates our ongoing commitment to keeping people safe on our roads and taking action against those who compromise the safety of themselves and other road users. The new equipment will prove invaluable in helping to bring offenders to justice, and providing answers to questions from bereaved families who tragically lose their loved ones in collisions on our roads.”
The new scanners come with a range of benefits, as Inspector Dan Pitcher, head of the Forensic Collision Investigations Unit for Surrey Police and Sussex Police, explains.
“We only get one chance to capture the evidence required from a scene, and it’s vital that we get it right. These scanners offer a far more efficient and effective way of achieving that, and they give us a really detailed picture from a variety of angles of what happened, right down to the minutest detail such as the position of small debris on the road. Being able to accurately and reliably collect this data will help us to submit timely reports for the purposes of court cases or inquests, and the new kit will be more cost effective in the long run. It also reduces the strain on other motorists impacted by road closures.”
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said Sussex Police’s purchase of the new Trimble X7 laser scanners would help investigators get the best possible overview of collision and crime scenes to ensure the force had the best chance to get justice for victims.
She said: “Sussex Police always strives to be at the cutting edge of digital technology so I am delighted to see this collaborative investment with Surrey Police further strengthening police capabilities in reconstructions to support inquests as well as prosecutions.”
Scan data from the Trimble X7
KOREC’s Barry Monk explains why the X7 is a good choice for Surrey Police and Sussex Police
“Working with Surrey Police and Sussex Police on this project was an exciting opportunity to understand the impact a solution such as this can have in ensuring that the requirements of both Police and the public are met.
Breaking down and understanding each element of attending a scene and collecting crucial information was key. The Police have one chance to collect the data in one visit and not miss a thing. With the Trimble X7 solution we were able to tick so many boxes. It is compact and lightweight with all the accessories in a single, easy to carry lightweight backpack and the X7 even has handle which are important aspects when it comes to transporting it quickly on to a scene. Additionally, the onboard Trimble Forensics Capture software is extremely intuitive to use. The X7 proved quick and easy to set up and GO with auto levelling and confirmed calibration at the beginning of each scan. The 3D visualisation of each scan within the Capture software gave confidence and comfort to the investigator that all data was captured. If there were areas that were missed, an extra scan could be added with ease.
In many of the scenes that the investigators attend, speed with accuracy is key. Once the scene was captured, the investigator could start the registration process in the field or whilst on route to another scene or to the station. The complete point cloud would then be ready to review but it didn’t stop there. Once we had the finished point cloud, putting the data set through to Trimble Forensics Reveal software gave the police the power to verify, understand and produce information to support the outcome of the case. As Trimble’s Reveal software was designed with Forensics investigations in mind, there are many tools to allow the investigator to present that data but also to prove what potentially happened in the incident.
The flexibility of the Trimble X7 linked to the Trimble Forensic Reveal software also enables us to develop for future maybe more complicated scenes for investigation and I am pleased that we will continue to work with the police and provide future developments.”