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Randox partially suspends laboratory services in wake of probe into police forensic testing

By Jonny Bell

Northern Ireland firm Randox has partially suspended testing services at its laboratories in Crumlin.

It follows after allegations of "data manipulation" were made at a forensics lab in England run by the Co Antrim company. Police in England are reviewing hundreds of cases and have arrested two staff.

The company said it was suspending some services voluntarily to "effectively support the criminal investigation".

Greater Manchester Police launched an investigation in February concerning 484 cases handled by Randox Testing Services (RTS). Potentially, it was claimed, hundreds of people could have been the victims of miscarriages of justice because of convictions based on incorrect test results in their cases.

At the time Randox said it was treating the matter with the "utmost seriousness" but totally rejected reports samples were "fixed", blaming "the perverse actions of individual(s)".

The company has now announced the partial suspension of services including drug testing

In a statement, it said: "RTS is advising clients that it has partially suspended laboratory accreditation at RTS Crumlin. This decision has been prompted by its investigation into data manipulation at RTS Manchester.

"The company is suspending the use of liquid chromatography mass-spectrometry testing, a common accredited method used in drug toxicology testing in forensic laboratories. All RTS clients have been informed of this development.

"RTS is committed to supporting the criminal justice system and believes that this voluntary partial suspension enables the most effective support of the criminal investigation."

The Randox statement continued: "As previously reported, RTS acted as whistle-blowers when employees uncovered evidence of data manipulation. It brought in Greater Manchester Police and has been working tirelessly with it and UKAS to resolve the issue. Two former employees are currently on bail.

"RTS is a specialist toxicology division comprising less than 3% of the overall company group."

RTS is based in Crumlin, has offices in London and Manchester, and describes itself as "a world leader in clinical diagnostic solutions, with offices and distribution in over 145 countries".

RTS said the issue "came to light as a result of an internal investigation", and that the probe was limited to its Manchester site, and two men who worked there for three years.

It blamed "the perverse actions of individual(s)", adding: "The internal investigation centres on the manipulation of quality control data, which supports test results. There is no evidence that either the samples or the quality control materials themselves were subject to interference."

The PSNI has said no cases in Northern Ireland are affected.

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