Belfast Telegraph

Police ambiguity over tissue samples handling

BY MICHAEL McHUGH

Constables returning body parts from unexplained deaths to relatives are still uncertain about their role, inspectors said.

A new process was adopted this year and some officers are still to receive training, a report said, but added the PSNI identified and sent samples to loved ones quickly and with sensitivity.

An inspection was ordered by Stormont Justice Minister David Ford after police and the Police Ombudman's Office kept human tissue belonging to 63 people without their families' knowledge. It was part of a UK-wide review after concerns were expressed about poor standards in hospital mortuaries.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) said: "As the process created by the inspected organisations was only adopted in 2013, HMIC found that some police constables are still uncertain about their role."

During a post-mortem examination samples of human tissue may be taken and retained for analysis by medical specialists or, if the death is suspicious, referred to Forensic Science Northern Ireland.

Belfast Telegraph

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