SCOTLAND’S forensic teams are set to market their crime-solving expertise to film producers and TV channels – as well as drug testing athletes at professional sports events – in a bid to raise extra money for the service.

The growing commercialisation of the unit is part of the wider modernisation of policing in Scotland, which is due to be completed by 2026.

Under the plans, forensic teams could be deployed to television studios to construct three-dimensional models that would help writers visualise the storylines they are working on.

The Scottish Forensics Unit (SFU) is unique in the UK in that it is managed by the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) and its main tasks are helping with police investigations and preparing criminal cases for the Crown.

But under a new strategy to be implemented by 2026 it will be able to grow its commercial arm and sell its groundbreaking expertise to a range of private bodies.

One of the SFU's most lucrative specialities is likely to be the Forensic Multimedia Unit which was formed specifically to embrace technology and provide a variety of digital media techniques to support the presentation methods of criminal casework.

Through a variety of quality digital media including interactive presentations and 3D reconstruction, the SPA Forensic Multimedia Unit can present complex evidence types in a way that is clear, concise and easily understood.

Forensic animation and 3D reconstruction can be used to aid a jury to better understand complex scenarios.

It paints a picture based on forensic evidence and can be used to illustrate a number of incidents and examples, from anatomically correct 3D body mapping of injuries and vehicle crash reconstructions to reconstruction of a crime scene and suspects movements. But the technology can also be invaluable to film and documentary makers and the SFU will be able to work with them and provide the same service to them at a fee.

The unit also has expertise in toxicology and could be drafted in by sporting bodies to carry out drug testing or help in the overall testing procedures in a bid to catch more cheats.

It comes as Police Scotland’s official watchdog welcomed the 10-year strategy for policing in Scotland – Policing 2026 – and the three-year implementation plan which was presented to the SPA earlier this month.

In his Annual Report for 2016-17 published yesterday, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary Derek Penman also noted that “major financial challenges” persist in terms of the sustainability of the SPA, which began 2017/18 with a forecast deficit of £47.2 million.

In his final annual report before he retires next spring, Mr Penman said: “I believe it is essential for the success of policing in Scotland that the Scottish Police Authority can quickly establish itself as a competent, credible and collaborative organisation that can both support and challenge Police Scotland.

“There is a critical leadership role for the new chair to speak authoritatively on policing and build a wider understanding and shared commitment among the Scottish public, policy makers and stakeholders about what the future of policing can look like.”