Bott developes mobile forensic vehicles for West Midlands Police
The eight vehicles, part of a larger order comprising 13 vans, will increase productivity through the innovative use of both the space inside the vehicle, and the in-built advanced technology. Each built within a Peugeot Expert base the vehicles have been configured to allow forensic technicians to do more “in the field” – with the ability to analyse, report on and also transport evidence as necessary – but to also carry out administration work in a mobile environment, as opposed to the historical office based method.
The vehicles comprise several distinct work areas. The West Midlands Police forensic team is required to attend a wide variety of incidents and need a selection of specialist equipment on hand so they are prepared for any crime scene. Therefore the equipment and evidence storage sections in the rear of the vehicle include a bespoke storage system, specifically designed to store investigation equipment, along with facilities for storing vital evidence and securely transporting any items away from the scene for further inspection.
Meanwhile the office section includes seating, a drop down table and space for a laptop and printer. There is a further section for a fingerprint scanner, DNA analyser or cool box.
The vehicles are fully lined, insulated and equipped with LED lighting, providing the forensic team with a comfortable yet practical working environment. There are also several 12V charging outlets in the vehicle and a diesel-powered heater. Further innovation was required to incorporate an escape hatch to give technicians emergency access from the office section to the cab.
Gary Mallett, fleet specification manager for West Midlands Police, commented: ‘The forensic team has been tasked with improving productivity, and need to spend more time out in the field. It was clear that a dedicated office area was required to allow the team to complete important paperwork while remaining mobile; however they still required the same amount of storage space for evidence and the vital equipment needed to process a crime scene. The system that has been developed allowed us to utilise the vans effectively. The vehicles are multifunctional, allowing our team to work in a much more efficient way.’
Andy Harris, specialist vehicle sales manager at Bott’s Vehicle Enhancement Division, added: ‘We pride ourselves on our ability to integrate all of our customers’ requirements into our conversions. When undertaking bespoke projects we always seek to work closely with our client to ensure all of their needs have been met.
‘We organised a number of workshops with West Midlands Police’s forensic department to allow the technicians to set out their specific needs, so a complete, tailored solution could be devised. A prototype was built and it was trialled for 10 weeks. The feedback enabled us to tweak the design where necessary, so that the final specification completely matched the team’s requirements.
‘We believe the collaboration with West Midlands Police has been highly successful, with the Bott team creating a custom solution that caters for all of the essential needs of the force’s forensic technicians.’