UK Police Scramble to Get Forensics Labs Accredited After Missed Deadline

“The issue reflects the evolving regulatory framework in place in the UK concerning how government authorities may use biometrics and related technologies.”

UK Police Scramble to Get Forensics Labs Accredited After Missed Deadline

Police in the UK are scrambling to get their forensics labs up to snuff in the wake of a statement from the country’s forensics regulator indicating that over 90 percent of the UK’s police agencies have failed to meet quality standards.

As The Guardian reports, government authorities introduced a requirement for police forensics labs to meet international standards for fingerprint analysis three years ago. A compliance deadline had been set for November of last year, and only three of the country’s police forces were able to meet it. Police agencies that have failed to obtain accreditation will now have to disclose this in court proceedings.

Commenting on the situation, the National Police Chiefs’ Council forensics head, Chief Constable James Vaughan, said his agency is “treating delays in gaining accreditation as a critical incident, with a chief officer overseeing forces’ progress and assisting them in gaining accreditation as soon as possible.” Vaughan later added that police forces that had failed to attain accreditation for their labs were asked to consider submitting their forensic evidence to accredited labs for analysis.

The issue reflects the evolving regulatory framework in place in the UK concerning how government authorities may use biometrics and related technologies. And it highlights the sensitivity of biometrics in police investigations, with some experts suggesting that some forensic practices rely too heavily on subjective judgments.

Source: The Guardian

January 14, 2019 – by Alex Perala