THE family of schoolgirl Paige Doherty have claimed victory in their campaign to ensure the bodies of murder victims are returned to ­families sooner.

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) revealed last week it has introduced a new protocol which aims to reduce the time families have to wait before they can lay a loved one to rest.

Pathologists instructed by the Crown and defence services will now consult on whether a second post-mortem is necessary, giving the defence the option to forgo the examination.

It’s a move the 15-year-old’s mum Pamela Munro said would have “meant the world” to her family following the teen’s brutal murder in March 2016.

She told our sister paper, the Evening Times: “If we had her back sooner, we could’ve had an open coffin and got to say goodbye properly, so it would have meant the world.

“I think anything that helps victims’ families is great because it takes some of the stress away of wondering [when the body will be returned].”

A new documentary on Paige’s murder and the police investigation to find her killer will air at 10pm on Thursday, November 8, on Channel 5.

The Crown Office, who consulted with with the Law Society of Scotland, the Faculty of Advocates, and the Royal College of Pathologists in its review, said the concerns of families, such as the Munros, had “informed the development” of the move.

Anthony McGeehan, procurator fiscal for policy and engagement, said: “The new protocol endeavours to ensure that post-mortem examinations are only conducted where necessary and loved ones are returned to their family as quickly as possible.”

However, the family of Paul Mathieson, who waited six months to lay the 37-year-old to rest after his death in January following an incident in Renfrew town centre, said it is not enough without more resources. Clydebank MSP Gil Paterson agreed and said he would bring forward a Bill to Holyrood.

He said: “The protocol relies on good practice, which I contend should have taken place in the past but didn’t.”