‘Procedure and Policy: A Critical Review of the Provision of Forensic Science: Market Competency, Capacity and Stability’:

Project: Research

Project Details

Description

Using income generated from the Consultancy services, a summer internship programme was established in Summer 2021 for two annual part time positions. The aim of the internship is to assist with operational running of the service but to principally assist research in Policy and Market Stability of Forensic Science to understand the need and "value" of forensic science in the Criminal Justice System.

Forensic services are key to justice, but in the UK they are now "in crisis", at a time when crime is rising and prosecutions falling, stretched resources, emphasis on profit instead of quality, reduced services and market collapse have led to restricted Police investigation, trial delays, wasted taxpayer money and high-profile miscarriages of justice which erode public confidence and ultimately the ability for forensic science to serve the public interest.

An inquiry was first conducted in the 1990s investigating these issues, but recommendations were unclear and there was a distinct lack of demonstrable evidence.

In 2019 the House of Lords opened a new inquiry, whereby I and the Centre for Forensic Science submitted written evidence. The outcome of this inquiry was a need for better "value" for money and a model of stability in the UK. To do so, a clearer understanding and transparency of how forensic science is being used was requested.

Scottish Independent Forensics Review Service (SIFRS) is uniquely positioned in the UK to possess the oldest archive of forensic casefiles (over 60 years of second opinion consultancy work carried out both domestically and internationally). As an evidence base is needed to understand the "value" of forensic science, I have proposed utilising this archive to create a dataset, looking at trends in forensic use in these cases.

Interest in our findings has been expressed by the UK and Scottish Government as well as interested third parties, such as the Law Society

Layman's description

Using casefiles to establish when forensic science has been used, what type, whether it has been "valuable" in obtaining a case outcome. Utilising this data to propose models for efficiency and cost effectiveness of forensic science, reflective of modern challenges in the sector.

Key findings

Stage One completed - Electronic Data set created from paper archive and four key objectives set.


Notes

Dissemination of Findings:
June 2022: Verbal overview and provision of associated resource materials from the preliminary findings provided to SIPR, via their Evidence and Investigation Network Directors

Jan 2019, Secure email communication of written evidence to davidsond@parliament.uk and burnettstuartc@parliament.uk House of Lords Science and Technology Committee Inquiry: regarding the Sustainability of Forensic Science in the UK
Short titleSIFRS - Internship
StatusNot started

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

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