Leica Geosystems helps to get roads reopened and keep the economy moving while offering better collision investigation and less stress for the police

Most police forces can find it a challenge to fund replacements for ageing equipment. When Nottinghamshire Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit upgraded to new Leica equipment, they experienced a transformation in the way they work. It also transformed how soon they could reopen the roads and limit potentially significant impacts on the economy.

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“Several major roads run through our county, including the M1, A1 and A52,” points out PC Mark Gascoigne, senior forensic collision investigator with Nottinghamshire Police. “When there are life-altering injuries or fatalities, it’s vital for everyone’s sake that we do the most thorough job we can, and that we don’t rush it. And yet we’re under tremendous pressure to reopen the roads as soon as possible, because closure causes chaos.”

“At least 85% of motorway incidents [are to be] cleared within one hour.”
– Target stated in Highways England’s Strategic Business Plan 2015-2020

New equipment works faster and right first time

In 2018, Mark’s collision investigation unit replaced its ageing equipment with new kit from Leica Geosystems. “It wasn’t the other manufacturer’s fault, but the equipment was 10 years old and falling to bits,” says Mark. “Half the time it just wouldn’t work, and we’d waste time switching it on and off and fiddling with it. That can add a couple of hours onto road closure time, and puts us under a lot of strain.”

Mark’s team now have a Leica GS18T and a Leica Viva TS16 in one of their two vehicles. It’s worked out so well, they plan to fit the second vehicle with the same kit in 2020. “It’s a pleasure to have equipment that functions to such a high standard and captures such high-quality data, and we’d prefer to standardise across both vehicles,” he says.

A strong partner in Leica

“Initially we were also looking at other manufacturers, but they couldn’t get their demo data to feed into our drawing software. They also didn’t compare as well side-by-side; the Leica kit just felt better and operated better. With virtually no difference in price, we went with Leica. And it’s never failed us.”

Mark acknowledges that two purchases doesn’t make Nottinghamshire Police a big customer for Leica. “And yet they really look after us. Instead of expecting us to go to Milton Keynes for training, which would have been disruptive and costly, they came up here three times over six days, at no extra cost.”

Laser-scanning can be overkill

Mark explains that some officers think it’s better to laser-scan an entire scene. “But if all you have is a couple of cars, some marks and the verge edges, then the GS18T is more than up to it. And it’s fast: as a GNSS RTK Rover, the GS18T always knows exactly where it is, so there’s no need to spend time levelling the bubble with the pole held vertical. That’s even better at night, when it might be difficult to see the bubble. Plus, you can also hold the GS18T’s pole in any position you want.. If you’re capturing, say, 600 points at a scene, then saving three to five seconds per point could cut your time on scene by almost an hour.

“We often don’t even need to turn the TS16 total station on, although it’s great when you don’t have easy access to the sky, like in a tunnel or surrounded by high-rise buildings. We also use it on the roof of a police car, to help us calculate the speed a vehicle must have been doing.”

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