A pioneering van that can take a forensic laboratory to the heart of a crime scene is set to revolutionise criminal investigations.
The "lab on wheels", said to be the first in the world, includes an array of technology for scanning DNA, fingerprints, blood and footprints, linked via satellite to databases of offenders.
Specially-trained crime scene staff will be able to provide genetic matches to criminals in as little as eight hours - three times faster than technology currently available.
This will give police in Birmingham immediate clues about suspects, their clothing and any other physical traces.
The forensic response vehicle will go on trial with West Midlands and Warwickshire police. It has been developed by the Forensic Science Service in Birmingham, along with BT, which has provided groundbreaking communications technology.
West Midlands Police Assistant Chief Constable Stuart Hyde said: "The use of forensic evidence has become increasingly important in identifying those who commit crime. To be able to undertake DNA checks close to the scene of a murder, for example, is a significant step forward.
"This brings science and technology closer to the investigator and will help to improve our response and make it more likely that we will identify murderers and rapists earlier.
"This is a major contribution to crime investigation."
The Forensic Science Service said technology meant they could condense a building-sized DNA processing line to fit in the back of the van. Scientists manning the vehicle will also be able to search for fingerprints and even have the technology to retrieve stored data from mobile phones.