Accredited forensic fakery – how assured are you feeling?

Herbert Edelhertz defined white-collar crime as: any illegal act or series of illegal acts committed by nonphysical means and by concealment or guile, to obtain money or property, to avoid the payment or loss of money or property, or to obtain business or personal advantages. Gilbert Geis defined upperworld crime as: a label designed to call attention to the violation of a variety of criminal statutes by persons who at the moment are generally not considered, in connection with such violations, to be the ‘usual’ kind of underworld and/or psychologically aberrant offenders.

We have seen previously how Randox was fleeced by UKAS in paying for the false assurance of accreditation to ISO 17025.  It didn’t stop “rogue scientists” altering forensic results.

Another forensic company has been drawn into the investigation.  Trimega Laboratories boasted of the prestigious UKAS accreditation it gained in 2013.  Here’s the press release in case it disappears in embarrassment:


Trimega Labs Drug and Alcohol Analysis

Since the acquisition of Trimega Laboratories last year, Ingemino have invested more than £1 million in developing our new laboratory

Trimega Laboratories, specialists in testing for illegal drugs, alcohol and DNA, are pleased to announce that hair drug testing analysis at its newly enlarged Manchester laboratory, has been accredited to the ISO/IEC 17025:2005 international standard by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). The accreditation was granted on July 10th. 

“This is great news and a credit to the hard work of the new management team. Since the acquisition of Trimega Laboratories last year, Ingemino have invested more than £1 million in developing our new laboratory and the supporting systems that go with it. As part of this process, we have developed an improved quality system and the UKAS accreditation is the ultimate seal of approval” says Fiona Begley, Director of Trimega Laboratories, and Executive Chairman of the Ingemino Group.

UKAS themselves explain the significance of accreditation on their website: 
“Accreditation is the only mechanism that determines the technical competence and integrity of the organisations offering testing services. ISO/IEC 17025 not only contains requirements for the quality management system of the organisation but they also include detailed and specific technical criteria for the operation of the technical service including ensuring the competence of personnel.”

The accreditation schedule for the testing of hair samples comprises the confirmation and quantitation of a total of 10 analytes and metabolites: Amphetamine, Methylenedioxymethylamphetamine (MDMA),
Cannabis: Delta 9-THC, Cocaine, Benzoylecgonine, Methadone, EDDP, Opiates: Codeine, 6 Monoacetylmorphine and Morphine. Trimega’s schedule of accreditation is published on the UKAS website. 

Frank Whitfield, recently appointed as the Trimega Laboratory Operations Manager following fours year with Roche Diagnostics, in describing the process of accreditation, said: “To gain accreditation, Trimega Laboratories had to undergo independent, rigorous audits by UKAS to establish not only that the analytical processes meet the standards, but that those standards are sustainable. We have rigorous checks in place at every stage of the testing process. Each sample that enters the laboratory can be traced via a chain of custody audit trail and can be tracked from the moment it enters the laboratory through to the issuing of the result.” 

As with all accredited laboratories, the processes will now be regularly audited by UKAS to ensure Trimega continues to meet the ISO 17025 standard. 

This latest accreditation adds to the ISO 14001 ‘environmental management system standard’ already awarded to the company and the ISO 9001 quality assurance certification awarded to the Client Services department based in Germany.

The prestigious ISO 17025 accreditation reflects the laboratory’s rigorous approach to testing and laboratory processes, to help ensure consistent calibrated, accurate results. By analysing a sample of hair from a donor, Trimega is able to develop a picture of the habit underpinning harmful substance misuse for up to a year prior to the date of the test. 


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Tel: +44 (0) 1491 636262

About Trimega Laboratories

Established in London in 2005, Trimega Laboratories is a specialist in the legal testing for substance misuse and in paternity testing. Its core business is laboratory-based analysis of hair samples that provide accurate historical records of alcohol or drugs dependency over a one to 12 month period. In the UK, Trimega’s clients include: family law specialists, law courts, and social services.

Trimega Laboratories was acquired by the Ingemino Group in 2012 and since then the business has undergone a complete overhaul with new management and investment. Fiona Begley, Director of Trimega,Laboratories and Executive Chairman of the Ingemino Group is a renowned expert in this industry and former CEO of Concateno plc, the owner of Trichotech laboratories.

UKAS Accreditation:…
Confirmation and Quantitation of:
• Amphetamine
• Methylenedioxymethylamphetamine (MDMA)
• Cannabis: Delta 9-THC
• Cocaine
• Benzoylecgonine
• Methadone
• Opiates
• Codeine
• 6 Monoacetylmorphine
• Morphine

ISO accreditation is no security against false results.  Maybe the “rogue scientists” are solely to blame.  Maybe the unnecessary pressure it creates drives staff to faking results.  Either way, accreditation provides no assurance.  It is merely a confidence trick.

Let’s hope the solicitors of those falsely-convicted are gearing up to include UKAS in the writ.

The scientists will be prosecuted.  The UKAS senior managers will continue to walk free – the get-out clause is, “our assessment is only a sampling exercise.”

These events show their accreditation is as worthless as it is expensive.

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