LORDS

How can Forensic Science better contribute to UK justice?

04 October 2018

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee holds the first evidence sessions on its new inquiry into Forensic Science, and hears evidence from academics and the police.

Purpose of session

The inquiry is looking at the contribution forensic science makes to the delivery of justice in the UK and its strengths and weaknesses in doing so. It will also explore the understanding and use of forensic evidence in the criminal justice system and how this evidence can be used effectively and robustly throughout the process.

Witnesses

Tuesday 9 October in Committee Room 4A, Palace of Westminster

At 3.25pm

  • Professor Tim Thompson, Professor of Applied Biological Anthropology, Teesside University
  • Dr Karl Harrison, Lecturer in Forensic Archaeology, Cranfield Forensic Institute, Cranfield University
  • Dr Sarah Morris, Lecturer in Forensic Computing, Cranfield Forensic Institute, Cranfield University

At 4.25pm

  • Mark Burns-Williamson OBE, Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, Chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC)
  • Chief Constable James Vaughan, Chief Constable of Dorset Police, leads on forensics for the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC)
  • Jo Ashworth OBE, Programme Director, NPCC Transforming Forensics Programme

Possible questions

Questions likely to be covered in the first session include:

  • What are the current strengths and weaknesses of forensic science in support of justice?
  • How can the Criminal Justice System be equipped with robust, accurate and transparent forensic science?
  • What channels of communication are needed between scientists, lawyers and the judiciary?
  • Is the current market for forensic services in England and Wales sustainable?
  • Is enough being done to prepare for the increasing role that digital forensics will have in the future?

Questions likely to be covered in the second session include:

  • What changes needed to ensure forensic science provision is maintained at the level required?
  • Why will many police forensic labs not meet deadlines set for accreditation by the regulator? What needs to be done to ensure labs can be accredited?
  • What role should the Forensic Science Regulator have? If the Forensic Science Regulator is to have statutory powers, what should these be?
  • Is enough being done to prepare for the increasing role that digital forensics will have in the future

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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