Pioneering police lab will ‘speed up’ forensic process

Cellmark Forensic Services
Cellmark Forensic Services

A new lab which will be used by the five East Midlands police forces will see forensic material travelling shorter distances to be examined.

For the first time in the country, forensic professionals from the police and private sector will undertake DNA analysis from the same site, in hopes to ‘form a more efficient and effective crime fighting team.’

It will be used by forces of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire to ‘allow detectives to identify and prosecute suspects, in a range of cases from burglaries to murders, much more quickly.’

Police staff from the Forensic Services arm of the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (known as EMSOU-FS) will be the first to share laboratory bench space with staff from outside of policing.

Regional Deputy Chief Constable Martyn Bates said: “DNA profiling is one of the most significant advancements in modern day policing, and it was developed right here in the East Midlands.

“It is not only helping to identify offenders committing today’s crimes, but you may have also heard in the news of cases in which criminals have been convicted years after some of the most serious and violent offences were committed.

“This contract, then, is an innovation in itself. Not only does it mean our DNA samples can be processed more quickly, consistently and to the highest of standards, but it will also bring the scientist and investigator closer together, enabling them to work in the very best interests of each case. In short, it’s going to refine and speed up the investigative process.

“These changes also mean we will be saving money, gaining a great deal from working so closely with a global market leader with a wealth of experience and skills to impart, and allowing for other opportunities to integrate and streamline our procedures.

“All this can only be of benefit to policing and, ultimately, the safety of people in the East Midlands.”

The partnership with Cellmark Forensic Services, one of the UK’s leading forensic companies, will see three of their scientists based out of a new DNA laboratory in a ‘secret’ location in Nottinghamshire.

Forensic samples were sometimes transported to Cellmark’s laboratories in Oxfordshire and Lancashire but will now only have to travel to Nottinghamshire.

David Hartshorne, Cellmark’s Managing Director, said: “This is a very exciting development which is allowing us to bring our forensic expertise closer to police investigators to deliver an extremely rapid and responsive DNA service. Our forensic partnership with EMSOU-FS is an innovative way of working and we are delighted that UKAS has recommended our laboratory for accreditation.”