Give us your MONEY!
Sounds a little bit like a line from a film doesn’t it. But its not.
Really it is the cry from Police Forces across the UK who are failing to meet the minimum levels of standards for forensic science.
Minimum…. Means the lowest you should be achieving, not what we would like you to achieve, these are the lowest levels of service needed to produce quality science for the criminal justice system.
Dr Gillian Tully the Forensic Science Regulator has no statutory powers so is unable to force organisations to comply but private labs will not get work from the Home Office and Police Forces if they do not achieve these MINIMUM levels of service. Unlike the Police In house laboratories who are able to still carry out the work without these standards being adopted.
One really impressive Police Force is Police Scotland who are the first to achieve the ISO standard for accreditation for the Fingerprint Laboratories. Amazing with the criticism they faced a few years ago. Brilliant hard work from all those involved. But this work still needs to go further.
Funding MUST be made available for the providers of forensic science. These could be the authorities or the private providers.
Obviously a lot of people will scoff at that comment but when you realise that a police force carrying out their own forensic science (and fingerprints in my own view) is not fair or transparent. It is also a little known fact that a lot of Police Forces, like West Midlands, and the Yorkshire forces all have their own labs who are still given the work even if the accreditation standards are not met (unlike our private labs)
So we as an industry must ask the Legal Aid Agency as well as the Home Office to supply funding to ensure these MINIMUM levels of service can be achieved and science can be protected.
If we dont protect our science we will end up like the USA with lots of junk science mixed with convictions which will always then be in doubt. Even if they are good convictions….
You can read the regulators report in full here