Prospect slams end to drink-drive sample analysis
Commenting on news that the Forensic Science Service has stopped processing blood and urine samples in motoring cases, Prospect today (10 February) warned far more serious crime investigations will soon be disrupted for the same reason.
FSS branch president Alan Organ said: "It beggars belief that the conviction of drink drivers is at best put on hold and at worst put at risk by the complete failure to reproduce a highly successful public service.
"This exposes the government's plans for the farce they are. If it is impossible to provide a smooth transition to alternative providers for road traffic accident alcohol analysis what is the likely outcome for more complex investigations linked to rapes and murders?”
The FSS road traffic accident alcohol analytical service was delivered from FSS laboratory in Chorley, Lancashire, which is due to close at the end of March under a cost-cutting programme put on place under the last government.
FSS had intended to transfer all the equipment and training staff to London to maintain a consistent and quality service. But, after December's announcement of the closure of the entire service, the Home Office was given two options; paying the cost of the transfer or seeing FSS withdraw entirely from the road traffic accident market.
The Home Office was made aware of the position shortly after the closure announcement. Prospect's concerns were spelled out in a news release.
The union has already voiced fears over the impact on legacy ‘cold' cases and warned that private sector providers cannot be expected to maintain FSS's research activities without a guaranteed financial return.
Organ said: "Instead of waiting for the cost-saving measures already under way to bed down, the government is determined to create a complex market where police forces, already struggling to make budget cuts, will have to develop their own capacity for analysis and support in forensics, multiplying duplication across the board."
Prospect is still encouraging members to contact their MP to support Early Day Motion 1353 opposing the closure of FSS. And please sign the petition if you haven't, which is close to hitting the 25,000 mark.