Police turn to untested private firms to fill forensics gap
05 Aug 2011
Prospect has welcomed a Guardian report which highlights how the government's haste to close the Forensic Science Service is forcing police forces to turn to untested suppliers to fill the gap.
The article 'Forensic Science Service closure forces police to use untested private firms' suggests that the fears voiced by staff in FSS for some time are coming home to roost.
The union has said that the Hertfordshire example described in the article is evidence that the government's unseemly rush to abolish FSS in favour of competitive tendering does not look like it will provide the promised savings behind the closure.
Prospect has also warned that forces seeking to fill the gap by increasing their in-house forensic provision will be severely hampered by their own budget restrictions
In June, Greater Manchester Police announced, in a bid to save £134m, that it aimed to shed a further 500 operational roles before the end of 2012, including in-house forensic staff.
The union has called on the government to heed the advice of the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee and, at the very least, call a halt to the closure process or risk denuding the legal system of independent, impartial advice in which the public can have faith.
Without drastic action, it has warned, it is only a matter of time before justice becomes a victim.