Drug-test contracts with Randox suspended pending ‘ongoing investigation’

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) has suspended all its contracts with a drug-testing company following allegations of data manipulation.

Nov 28, 2017

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) has suspended all its contracts with a drug-testing company following allegations of data manipulation. An investigation was launched after two employees of Randox Testing Services (RTS) in Manchester were arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice by altering forensic samples. Two men who were sentenced for causing death by driving under the influence of drugs have decided to appeal against their convictions after the scandal emerged. Matthew Bravender, 38, was sentenced to five years and four months in prison after he struck and killed a 52-year-old pedestrian in April last year. And Anderson Ward, 39, was jailed for six years for causing the death of his girlfriend after losing control of a car on the M3 in November 2014. More appeals are expected to follow these two as thousands of toxicology tests are re-analysed. Policing and Fire Minister Nick Hurd told MPs the firm is still “co-operating” in retesting samples despite the contract suspension, after the NPCC found more than 10,000 cases across 43 forces may have been affected. “The police have suspended all contracts as I understand it with Randox,” he said. “Randox are co-operating with us fully on the priority, which is to identify the priority cases [and] get the retesting done as quickly as possible.” He added that the manipulated cases could date back to 2010. The full retesting programme is currently expected to take between two and three years to complete, due to limited forensic capacity. Five men have been interviewed so far by Greater Manchester Police over the alleged manipulation by employees of RTS. Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott claimed the “scandal” came directly from the decision to privatise the industry in 2010, when the Government announced the publicly owned Forensic Science Service would close, and many of its operations transferred or sold off. LGC Forensics soon became the main analysis firm for the UK, and in recent years have outsourced a number of investigations to RTS due to staff cuts. A NPCC spokesperson said: “Contracts with RTS have been suspended pending the ongoing investigation.”

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