Science and Technology Committee announce follow-up inquiry into Forensic Science

22 November 2012

On 1 July 2011, the Science and Technology Committee published the report, The Forensic Science Service (FSS), criticising the Government’s plans to close the FSS.

The report made several conclusions and recommendations about the transition and consequences of closure and how they should be managed. The FSS closed in March 2012 following a transition period where arrangements were made to deal with its staff, assets and case work.

Since the Committee’s report and closure of the FSS there have been major developments in the provision of forensic science in England and Wales. In addition, police force procurement of forensic science services has changed and the recent election of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) may influence further change.

The Science and Technology Committee has agreed to conduct an inquiry into the aftermath of the closure of the FSS and seeks submissions on the following matters:

  1. Does the Government have an effective strategy for forensic science in the UK and is it sufficient to support forensic science R&D and criminal justice?
  2. Did the FSS transition and closure run smoothly and within budget?
  3.  What impacts have the FSS’s closure had on (i) the criminal justice system and (ii) forensic science R&D and training? In particular, have the appropriate quality standards and accreditation been rigorously maintained? (please provide evidence/examples)
  4. What should be role of the Forensic Science Regulator?
  5. What is the size of the forensics market and how stable is it?
  6. How are forensic science services procured by police forces and could procurement processes be improved?
  7. Has the closure of the FSS resulted in a loss of intellectual wealth through its scientists leaving the forensic science profession, or the UK? (please provide evidence/examples)
  8. Are current arrangements for the FSS’s archives satisfactory? How could arrangements for the retention of case files and forensic materials in the UK be improved?

Submitting written evidence

The Committee invites written submissions on these issues by midday on Thursday 10 January 2013.

Each submission should:

  • be no more than 3,000 words in length 
  • be in Word format with as little use of colour or logos as possible 
  • have numbered paragraphs 
  • include a declaration of interests.

If you need to send a paper copy please send it to:

The Clerk
Science and Technology Committee
House of Commons
7 Millbank
London SW1P 3JA
Please note that:

  • Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.
  • Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.
  • Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

Select Committees are unable to investigate individual cases.

More information on submitting evidence to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website.

Image: iStockphoto

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