Dorset Police outsource crime scene guarding
The guarding of scenes of major crimes in Dorset is being outsourced to the private security firm Securitas.
As part of a four-month trial by Dorset Police, Securitas personnel will now remain on scene.
Dorset Police said the measure could release up to 3,600 police hours to front line services every year.
Det Ch Supt Mark Cooper said it had been "tried and tested" by other forces, but the Police Federation said it was "privatisation".
Mr Cooper, head of Dorset Police Criminal Justice Department, said: "Specially trained scene officers will be able to perform this task to a high standard and release police officers back to the front line to perform other essential tasks.
"The outsourcing of scene guarding to Securitas Ltd has the potential to impact positively upon the service we can provide to the communities of Dorset."
'People, not profit'
Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: "It will also cut force costs and strengthen our ties with Avon and Somerset, and Devon and Cornwall police forces who have already adopted this scheme."
The force is trying to achieve budget savings of £10m by March 2015.
Dorset Police said that if the trial proved successful the measure could be made permanent next year and could be broadened to include other areas where a police officer would normally be required to remain on scene.
Dorset Police Federation chairman Clive Chamberlain said: "Whatever way you try and dress this up - it is privatisation.
"Policing should be for people and not for profit. It should be undertaken by fully trained police officers, who are accountable to the communities that they serve - not to shareholders or a board of directors.
"How will these guards be trained, in terms of evidence gathering, [and] what powers will they have to stop people contaminating crime scenes?
He added: "Security guards will still have to phone for a police officer to attend if a situation arises that the guards have no power to deal with."