Lords say forensic science needs “urgent reform” following Keele academics’ evidence

Members of a House of Lords committee have called for an urgent reform of forensic science in the UK following a report by Keele academics.

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee has called for urgent reforms to the sector in England and Wales to prevent miscarriages of justice or crimes going unsolved, with colleagues from Keele University providing expert evidence to aid their enquiry.

The report, ‘Forensic science and the criminal justice system: a blueprint for change’, highlighted an absence of high-level leadership, a lack of funding, and an insufficient level of research and development in the UK’s forensic science sector.

According to the report the market is not properly regulated, creating a state of crisis and posing a threat to the criminal justice system, with the committee making several recommendations to address the problem.

These include the formation of a Forensic Science Board, reforming and increasing the remit and resources available to the Forensic Science Regulator, and establishing a National Institute for Forensic Science.

Keele academics from the schools of both Chemical & Physical Sciences and Geology, Geography & Environment submitted evidence, from both a forensic science perspective (Dr David Thompson, Dr Craig Adam and Dr Chrystelle Egger) and forensic geoscience perspective (Dr Jamie Pringle, Dr Vivienne Heaton and Dr Kris Wisniewski from Foundation Year).

Dr Pringle also co-ordinated UK-wide university findings, as Chair of the Forensic Geoscience Group, from a geoscience perspective, both for researchers and practitioners in the fields of search and trace evidence.

Dr Pringle said: “We are really pleased that Keele has been able to provide expert evidence to this important enquiry, showcasing our expertise and experience and why it is crucial for supporting the world-class research that Keele does”.