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Forensic science strategy key: MPs

Criminals could avoid conviction unless the Government puts in place a proper strategy for forensic science, a group of MPs has warned.

The Science and Technology Committee accused the Government of being slow to recognise the wider impact on the criminal justice system of shutting the Forensic Science Service (FSS) in March 2012.

The FSS was a Government-owned company which provided forensic science services to the police forces and government agencies of England and Wales, as well as other countries.

Commenting on the Government's attitude towards forensic science, Andrew Miller MP, chair of the committee, said: "Forensic science provides vital evidence to the criminal justice system and if the Government wants to continue being able to put the most serious criminals behind bars it has a duty to protect its health."

The committee also found that some police forensic laboratories had failed to make sufficient progress towards achieving accreditation to the same quality standard as private providers.

The group of MPs was also concerned that it remains as difficult as ever for forensic researchers to obtain funding for their research.

The funding shortage means that the UK could fail to maintain its reputation in forensic science, its report added.

Mr Miller went on: "Research and development is the lifeblood of forensic science and yet we heard that serious crimes, like rape and murder, may be going unsolved as we rely on outdated technology.

"It may take years before we realise the consequences of neglecting research and development. The Government and Research Councils should now treat forensic science research as a strategic priority."

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