British Association for the Advancement of Science: Concern over 'dodgy' forensic science firms

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The Independent Online
THE GOVERNMENT should 'get a grip' on forensic scientists with no formal training offering their services to the courts, the meeting was told yesterday.

Angela Gallop, a former government forensic scientist now working as a consultant, said cash- starved police were turning to cheap forensic outfits.

She said anyone could set themselves up as a forensic laboratory, because there was no system in the UK for training or accreditation. Most importantly, there was no legal basis for complaints against 'dodgy' companies.

Dr Gallop said even after some company's had proved unreliable, police were going back to them. While this was the case, there was the risk of miscarriages of justice.

'Every day there are cases being presented with no system of checks and balances. There are a lot of people out there talking rubbish,' she said.

'They will be around for some time unless somebody does something about it . . . it needs the Government to get a grip.'

Janet Thompson, head of the Government's Forensic Science Service, said attempts had been made to set up training for forensic scientists, following broad quality guidelines.

The speakers said they were disappointed there had been no response from the Government on recommendations for forensic science in the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice, published last year.