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Government to close the FSS


Book Reviewer
I saw this but it didnt really say what they did. I meant obviously its csi type mumbo jumbo but so they act as soco support or are they called in seperately?
The were the government forensic agency historically. Basically they were SOCO before SOCO existed, they covered everything from basic SOCO (crime scene evidence gathering, road traffic accidents etc.)through to major crime investigations (rapes and murders etc) for forensics. They also setup and ran the DNA database as well as the fingerprint and shoe sole databases. About 20 years ago they were turned into an independent agency, and over the past 10 years or so have had to compete on the open market with other companies for Police Forensic work.

This basically meant they ended up with the stuff no-one else wanted to do as they were legally required to do it, but the big money making contracts went to other companies.

My Dad retired from the FSS about 2 years ago after 40+ years working there...the place was run into the ground over the last 20 years and was never going to survive....although he was surprised at the announcement.



Book Reviewer
so were they losing money because they were doing dna tests on half a million people per conviction?

waking the dead use one girl so it cant be so hard.
It's simple - with police forces working to a budget they go to the cheapest - not the best bidder. They were priced out of existance
And they were no where near the best.
I appreciate I am biaised, but the decline in the FSS was started when they became an agency, which meant the Police got the money and had to buy the services from the FSS, but the FSS wasn't allowed to make a profit, this then meant that the police could go elsewhere for services. Before that point they were world leading in the majority of forensic methodology. The problem was that there were areas of forensics which were expensive to do, time consuming, required skilled operators but weren't profit making...therefore the departments were closed and the rot started. The commercial companies will not do this work, and no-one wants the overhead of maintaining big databases with limited use, so the profitable work was heavily fought over but the FSS was forced to do the non-profitable stuff at the same time.

The FSS had one of the best databases of footwear, tyre tread and glass in the world, but matching and analysis was costly and with the advent of DNA profiling it was being used less and less, therefore wasn't worth keeping the people who knew how to do the work.

It's a shame they went down the commercial road, the majority of commercial companies are run and employ ex-FSS people anyway, but now make a profit from the Police having to pay for the work. In my opinion this means that less forensics is done in general, which means either some cases are never solved or the evidence chain is much smaller.

Outsource it to those who can.
You'd have a crucial plank in the criminal justice system depend on the whim of acceptable profit-margin? Pay-per-proof?

Justice is one of the things we can't really do without - whether it's profitable or not. I'm not terribly comfortable with the private sector getting involved as the temptation to flog things where they shouldn't where they shouldn't will always be there.
I am not at all surprised the FSS have gone bust in fact I saw it coming 18 months ago.

The Forensic Science Service used to be an executive agency of the Home Office. Forensic Scientists and ROs (Reporting Officers) are completely different to SOCOs / CSIs. The NDNADB (DNA Database) was transferred to the NPIA (the Police Service) about two years ago and rightly so. You cannot have one commercial company claiming ownership of the database. The national footwear database was abysmal and now the police service have got it back again. The FSS have never owned the NAFIS (Fingerprint database) but always wanted too.

The FSS have wasted money for years and many very good Forensic Scientists could see the writing on the wall and 'jumped ship' to join LG Forensics and Key Forensics who do an excellent job and provide first class evidence to police services at a cheaper price on time unlike the FSS.

These companies and others who did not make the grade were awarded contracts by the competitive tendering process to strict technical specifications. ACPO didn't make any money they aren't allowed too!

As a rate payer you want your police force to deliver value for money don't you and to provide the criminal justice system with the best evidence ? it's then up to the courts......

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