Fingerprints blunder puts trials at risk as police chiefs create emergency group to ensure labs get accreditation


Peter Hitchens is critical of modern British policing.  He wrote in the Mail on Sunday,

“And now we learn, to my total lack of surprise, that prosecutions have sunk to an all-time low in England and Wales, at a time when even our fishy official figures show that crime is surging upwards.

“This is because our 50-year policy of decriminalising crime has finally blown up in our faces. We wait till offenders are hardened criminals before locking them up. When we do lock them up, we let them out as fast as we can. But even then, the prisons can’t hold them. Soft justice, as anyone could have told its supporters, means more crime, for ever.

“But whatever you do, don’t dream of trying to defend yourself or your own home. That is almost the only thing that will get you prosecuted and thrown into prison for years. Like all rotten, incompetent monopolies, our criminal justice system can do one thing well – defending itself against competition. When this country eventually goes under, our elite’s infuriating failure to confront or deal with this problem will be one of the main reasons.”

Its sister newspaper now reports that large sums of taxpayers’ money are being wasted to support accreditation schemes for forensic science i.e. subsidizing the accreditation cartel rather than preventing crime.  Like most other labs, the forensic scientists are struggling to meet the requirements of the accreditors.

Every force in the UK was ordered by the forensics watchdog three years ago to ensure their laboratories met international standards (file photo)

Fingerprints blunder puts trials at risk as police chiefs create emergency group to ensure labs get accreditation

By Martin Beckford for The Mail on Sunday

Published: 01:39, 21 October 2018 | Updated: 01:40, 21 October 2018

Trials could collapse and criminals walk free because the police have failed to meet strict new rules governing fingerprint evidence.

Every force in the UK was ordered by the forensics watchdog three years ago to ensure their laboratories met international standards for studying marks found at crime scenes.

But The Mail on Sunday has learned that just one in ten hit the deadline to gain accreditation from the watchdog, the Forensic Science Regulator, confirming they met these standards at the start of October.

Trials could collapse and criminals walk free because the police have failed to meet strict new rules governing fingerprint evidence (file photo)

Police from forces without this accreditation will now have to admit in court that they have missed the target before the start of trials where fingerprints are presented as evidence.

These could include rape and murder cases. Defence lawyers are also more likely to challenge fingerprint evidence presented by police from these forces and order their own tests.

Police chiefs have created an emergency group to make sure their labs gain accreditation as soon as possible.

Chief Constable James Vaughan, national lead for forensics, said: ‘We are treating delays in gaining accreditation as a critical incident.

‘If police labs do not have the appropriate accreditation, forces are open in providing declarations to courts and evidence of the activity undertaken to ensure high standards of work.

Every force in the UK was ordered by the forensics watchdog three years ago to ensure their laboratories met international standards (file photo)

‘It is then for the court to test the veracity and admissibility of the evidence.’

A spokesman for Dr Gillian Tully, the Forensic Science Regulator, said last night: ‘The consistent failures to meet the Regulator’s quality standards are unacceptable.’

Dr Tully has led a drive for police-run laboratories to meet international standards. At a meeting in July, chief constables complained ‘about how high the bar was being set in terms of accreditation’.

But Dr Tully said ‘there would have been ample time to approach the process over a longer time period, had there been earlier action’.

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Comments 4

Political prisoner, UK, United Kingdom, about an hour ago

Fingerprints are not unique contrary to the claim that’s been made for decades, but this accreditation will also slowly expose the deep states control over the technology giants ability to spy on each and every one of us using other means. In the future look back at the number of convictions by AI tech devices like personal assistants. Lulling the victim, in this case the public, into a false sense of security is one of the mainstays of Govt & the deep state business giants.

Avanice, Arbourdale, United Kingdom, about 2 hours ago

Before privatisation this did not arise as the Government sponsored centres of excellence known as Forensic Science Laboratories had standards and levels of expertise second to none. They were independent from the police although there was a lot of communication between these two bodies. I, for just one, would not and do not trust such a police sponsored Forensic Science organisation, no matter how many how many international level qualifications they may have. There are insufficient degrees of separation.

maias, Auchtermuchty, United Kingdom, about 3 hours ago

Every force in the UK was ordered by the forensics watchdog three years ago to ensure their laboratories met international standards for studying marks found at crime scenes, but just one in ten hit the deadline to gain accreditation from the watchdog, Why haven’t top people been sacked? Has the UK got a Trojan Horse full of high ranking officials who are refusing to follow procedures, arrest criminals, and prosecute them properly, and assess they are safe to be released on parole or even day release, so that our family and friends will NOT be attacked by people who should have been kept in prison. The honours system needs to be scrapped until we are certain honours are NOT given to cover the inadequacies of those who run our lives.

Paulmichael7707637, Malaga, Spain, about 4 hours ago

It is not only fingerprints but all forensic practices, we did all this 10 years ago for the CRFP accreditation and after 18 months it was abandoned at a cost of many thousands per expert, just another way of wasting money

 

Parliamentary evidence from 2011 shows that ISO 9001 and ISO 17025 are among the mish-mash of accreditation standards attempted by forensic labs.

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