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New 3D scanner allows police to reconstruct crash sites on laptop

It is hoped the technology will reduce the time Scotland's roads are closed after a crash.

A crash reconstruction from a 3D scanner being used by Police Scotland.

New 3D scanning technology is being brought in to help police investigate crash sites.

Five scanners have been bought at a cost of £50,000 each and 20 officers are being trained to use them.

They rotate 360 degrees while capturing the scene at a million point per second, allowing officers to record the site more accurately and quickly than traditional methods.

Officers can then view the site as a virtual image on a laptop and view it from any angle.

It is hoped the technology will reduce the amount of time roads are closed after a crash.

Inspector Darren Faulds said: "At the moment, if there is a serious or fatal crash on a road, the area is closed to allow those who have been injured to receive treatment and to protect those who are working at the scene.

"During this time, officers will meticulously examine the scene before recording each point of evidence manually using traditional surveying equipment.

"The virtual survey taken by the new scanners can be done in less time and this, combined with prudent scene management, will make a significant impact on the time taken for investigations at crash sites.

"This will also have a beneficial knock on effect with regard to the cost of road closures and the disruption to commerce and the public.

"When the data is captured and the investigation complete, officers will present the images at court in their final format. This will enhance the quality of evidence available to the court, and will provide a virtual representation of the scene that will make it easier for those involved to visualise the crash scene."

The funding for the scanners has been provided by Transport Scotland as part of a scheme to reduce journey times on Scotland’s roads.

Transport minister Keith Brown said: "Road closures are only ever put in place in the most serious of incidents and I know that people are understanding of the circumstances. However, frustration can creep in and the new laser scanners will allow a thorough examination of accident sites in a shorter time scale, meaning that the road will be opened more quickly.

"The scanners will be brought into use over the coming weeks and their benefits should be realised quickly. I am sure they will have a particular use in more rural areas where there are fewer diversion routes available when incidents take place."

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