A computerised system to predict the likelihood of finding forensic evidence at crime scenes has been hailed a success after a 12-month test period.
Northants Police and University College London's Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science are developing the system.
Using data from house burglaries the study produced correct predictions for forensic evidence in 68% of cases.
The Home Office extended the system to cover thefts from motor vehicles, resulting in a 72% success rate.
Northants Police said forensic teams examining crime scenes for DNA and fingerprints now have a powerful tool.
Surprising spin offs
Head of scientific support Dr John Bond said: "We are absolutely delighted at the success so far.
"This work could dramatically improve the efficiency of forensic investigation for all forces across the country and result in many more criminals being caught nationwide.
"Some of the spin off results have been quite surprising, we found that the longer a forensic investigator spent at a crime scene the lower the chance of finding evidence."
The research and development was done by retired police officer Rick Adderley, who is currently overseeing trials with other forces in Gwent, Northumbria and Kent.
When the trials are finished it is hoped that the Home Office will support a roll-out to other forces across the country.