The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee inquiry into forensic science: Have your say

Posted on: 28/08/2018

The Committee invites submissions, with practical examples where possible, on a variety of topics around forensic science.

In recent years concerns have been raised about the state of forensic science in the UK, particularly in England and Wales, including by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee in 2013, the National Audit Office in 2015 and the Forensic Science Regulator in January 2018.

This inquiry will look at the contribution forensic science makes to the delivery of justice in the UK and its strengths and weaknesses in doing so. It will also explore the understanding and use of forensic evidence in the criminal justice system and how this evidence can be used effectively and robustly throughout the process.

The House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee, under the Chairmanship of Lord Patel, is conducting an inquiry into forensic science. The Committee invites interested individuals and organisations to submit evidence to this inquiry.

Lord Patel, commented:

“Recent reports have warned that police are increasingly relying on unregulated experts to examine samples from suspects and crime scenes. Given the important role forensic science can play in convicting or exonerating defendants, the Committee wants to make sure that forensic evidence is produced to a consistent scientific standard.”

“We also want to examine the way in which forensic evidence is understood throughout criminal justice process, and whether the Government has considered the need to plan for the predicted increase in the amount of digital forensic evidence.”

Topics include:

  • How the Criminal Justice System can be equipped with robust, accurate and transparent forensic science
  • Whether current training available for practitioners, lawyers and the judiciary is appropriate
  • Whether the current market for forensic services in England and Wales is sustainable and whether changes are needed to ensure forensic science provision is maintained at the level required
  • Whether the ‘Forensic Science Strategy’ produced by the Home Office in 2016 is suitable
  • Whether the Forensic Science Regulatory should be given statutory powers
  • What the gaps are in the research and understanding of forensic science
  • Whether enough is being done to prepare for the increasing role that digital forensics will have in the future

The deadline for receiving written submissions is 14 September 2018.

Full details of the questions and the submission details is available here.

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