Quality in forensic science: an approach for the whole criminal justice system

Crime and Policing

May 18
11:06 2018

At her annual conference, she brought together experts from all fields of the system, looking at how the Regulator, the courts, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), police and professionals can work together to ensure compliance with the Regulators standards.

Dr Gillian Tully said:

I will continue to support and challenge organisations to achieve and go beyond mere compliance with standards.

We want to move forensic science from just about functional to excellent, where we have the best scientists using robust science in the interests of justice and making the most of the digital future.

Head of Criminal Justice, the Rt Hon Sir Brian Leveson said:

Those of us that work in an area where scientific evidence matters are rewarded by being involved with some of the most fascinating and engaging parts of criminal justice.

But to ensure we have effective scrutiny and to ensure that the public retains confidence in the system we must make sure we see the regulations and rules as supportive and not superfluous.

Sir Brian highlighted that over the last year headlines that scream out words like unreliable and manipulated in relation to high profile problems with specific firms mean that the Regulator has never been more important or relevant in ensuring that the public and all involved in the process can trust the evidence presented in court.

Chief Crown Prosecutor Adrian Foster highlighted the risk that unsound science could be accepted as expert advice in courts, particularly as much of the scientific evidence is outside the knowledge of most lawyers.

Chief Crown Prosecutor Adrian Foster said:

Statutory powers for the Regulator do offer an opportunity to increase awareness of the Regulators code of conduct across the Criminal Justice System; to courts, prosecution and defence.

However, the Regulator also highlighted that the UK has one of the strongest regulatory frameworks for forensic science in the world, and that a high level of compliance has already been achieved.

Further presentations given at the conference were:

  • Dr Gillian Tully, Forensic Science Regulator: What can the Regulator do to support high quality forensic science?

  • Dr Anya Hunt, CEO Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences: How can the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences support the profession in achieving high quality?

  • ACC David Lewis, NPCC Forensic Science Portfolio: What can policing do to enhance forensic science quality?

  • Dr Dean Jones, Home Office Forensic Pathology Unit: Identifying suspicious deaths to ensure high quality provision of forensic science and forensic pathology evidence.

  • Mr Tom Nelson, Director of Forensic Services, SPA Forensic Services: What must the forensic science profession do to support the provision of

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