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Forensic Magzine May 2, 2019: British Forensic Science in ‘Crisis,’ Urgent Reforms Needed, Report Says

The United Kingdom closed its Forensic Science Service in 2010, citing £2 million monthly losses. Ever since the loss of that national service, 20 percent of the forensic work is contracted out to private companies, predominantly three main providers.

Since 2012, the British government has pledged to give authority and power to the national Forensic Science Regulator—but it hasn’t yet happened, seven years later.

Together, and amid other factors, there is now a “state of crisis” in U.K. forensic science, according to a new House of Lords Committee report. (Not included in the conclusions are Northern Ireland and Scotland.)

“Urgent” reform is necessary, according to the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee report “Forensic science and criminal justice system: a blueprint for change,” released today. Two new whole agencies need to be created, and two more need to be given significantly more power, to right the forensic disciplines, the report adds.

The committee interviewed dozens of academics and law enforcement experts over the last year.

Taken altogether, it paints a portrait of a world-leading forensic climate that has lost ground over the last decade, according to the report.

“The forensic science community is weakened due to years of financial disinvestment, unfocused core strategic leadership and fragmented communication across the ecosystem,” said Dame Sue Black, a professor and chancellor at Lancaster University, and noted anthropologist and author.

Perhaps the driving problem among the private forensic companies: deflation of the prices of their services, creating “market fragility.” more

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