£6m invested in state-of-art forensics

Scotland’s forensic science laboratory in Dundee has been upgraded to a state-of-the-art facility that Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill describes as “one of the best in the world”.

Sep 5, 2013
By Paul Jacques
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Scotland’s forensic science laboratory in Dundee has been upgraded to a state-of-the-art facility that Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill describes as “one of the best in the world”.

Almost £6 million is being invested in new equipment and every crime scene examiner in Scotland will now also have access to a rugged toughbook that will enable them to record key information at an examination site, which can then be viewed by the scientists back in the laboratory.

Tom Nelson, Director of Forensic Services, explained: “One of the key directives from Scottish policing was that they wanted greater consistency and resilience to provide fast results in day-to-day volume crimes such as house-breaking and car crime, as well as expert support on less common serious and violent crime.”

Dundee’s new High Volume Processing Unit (HVPU), that enables laboratory resources to be dedicated to volume crime cases, has already produced significant results. Now 95 per cent of DNA samples are being processed in less than 20 days, up from 80 per cent in 2012. Mr Nelson said this means quicker intelligence results for the police in their investigation of the type of crimes that affect the majority of the public.

“This is an exciting time for Forensic Services in Scotland,” said Mr Nelson. “We are investing almost £6 million on new equipment that will be used to improve our service delivery and resilience and will put us at the cutting-edge of forensic science in the UK.

“By maximising the benefits of this new technology we can provide rapid results to our customers, increasing the potential of identifying the perpetrator of a crime quicker.”

The laboratory was Scotland’s first new purpose-built forensic science laboratory in almost 15 years and was officially opened by the Cabinet Secretary in June 2010.

“The landscape within policing has changed significantly since that time and as a service we responded by undertaking a programme of modernisation to ensure we could meet the national needs of Scottish policing and Procurator Fiscals,” said Mr Nelson.

Mr MacAskill said Forensic Services was a crucial part of the fight against crime in Scotland as criminal investigation becomes ever-more sophisticated.

“This state-of-the-art laboratory is one of the best in the world and provides an excellent facility for Scottish Police Authority staff to carry out investigations and analysis to the very highest standard,” he said. “This lab in Dundee, and the soon-to-open Scottish Crime Campus at Gartcosh, are absolutely essential functions in the delivery of justice across Scotland.”

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