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Committee announce new inquiry into the Forensic Science Service

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19 January 2011

The Science and Technology Committee launches a new inquiry examining the winding-down of the Forensic Science Service.

The government-owned Forensic Science Service provides analysis and interpretation of evidence from crime scenes. It employs 1,600 people and analyses more than 120,000 cases each year. In a Written Statement on 14 December 2010 the Government announced that it would be winding down the Forensic Science Service, transferring or selling off as much of its operations as possible.

At its meeting on 19 January 2011 the Committee agreed to hold a short inquiry into this closure.

The terms of reference for this inquiry are outlined below, and the Committee invites written submissions on these issues by Monday 14 February 2011.

  1. What will be the impact of the closure of the Forensic Science Service on forensic science and on the future development of forensic science in the UK?
  2. What will be the implications of the closure on the quality and impartiality of forensic evidence used in the criminal justice system?
  3. What is the financial position of the Forensic Science Service?
  4. What is the state of, and prospects for, the forensics market in the UK, specifically whether the private sector can carry out the work currently done by the Forensic Science Service and the volume and nature of the forensic work carried out by police forces?
  5. What are the alternatives to winding-down the Forensic Science Service?
  6. So far as they are known, are the arrangements for closing down the Forensic Science Service, making staff redundant and selling its assets adequate?

Each submission should:
a) be no more than 3,000 words in length
b) be in Word format with as little use of colour or logos as possible
c) have numbered paragraphs
d) include a declaration of interests.

A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to [email protected] and marked "Forensic Science Service".

An additional paper copy should be sent to:
The Clerk
Science and Technology Committee
House of Commons
7 Millbank
London SW1P 3JA

Image: iStockphoto

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