ISSUE ONE (Jan - Mar) 2017 HTML
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HUMANITIES SCIENCE POLITICS
Science, People & Politics ISSN 1751-598X
FORENSIC SCIENCE REGULATOR | 25
The report points out an audit in 2015 reviewing alleged rape cases showed,
"... risk concerning the level of training, skills and experience of personnel within policing
making initial evaluative strategic decisions".
Specifically, Dr Tully points out not all procurement of forensic medical examiners specifies "the
appropriate level of FME training and qualification."
A more extensive audit is needed, she writes.
Alleged rape cases, of course, frequently rely on the quality of the DNA evidence, though it is
not only alleged rape in which genomic data are critical.
When it comes to DNA, minimising the risk of contamination or the existence of unidentified
DNA matters to both defence and prosecution.
Elimination databases are needed to prevent miscarriages of justice. Expanding such data-
bases to include DNA from all who might have come into contact with the resources used in an
investigation is ongoing.
At the time this report was published the question of whose DNA would be included in
elimination databases remained a vexed question, which had grown to envelop trade union
officials and issues of privacy.
In her report, Dr Tully says forensic science organisations have for some years operated
elimination databases of their staff and some police staff so that those with potential to con-
taminate a forensic sample will not be incorrectly uploaded to the National DNA Database.
During 2016 progress was made with a Central Elimination Database.
The project aims to include DNA from police officers, police staff, staff of organisations
"manufacturing consumable items used in the DNA profile process", as well as from forensic
medical examiners and relevant staff at Sexual Assault Referral Centres.
High priorities for the Forensic Science Regulator in 2017 are: digital forensics; casework
review; operational implementation of streamlined forensic reporting and casework man-
agement; evaluative interpretation of standards (essentially an exercise in getting everyone to
understand the same meaning of the words); firearms classifications; standards for custody
suites and the Sexual Assault Referral Centre; supporting expansion and implementation of
the Central Elimination Database; DNA mixture guidance, including software validation;
conduct annual forensic pathology audit; provide ongoing support adoption of a fingerprint
comparison standard; continue developing less expensive means of small businesses meeting
required standards; and support bids within research areas prioritised within the report.
Medium priorities are: clarify quality requirements for infrequently used methods and experts;
work with professional bodies to complete standards for forensic podiatry and forensic
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