Future criminal cold case reviews could be put in jeopardy by the government's plans to close the Forensic Science Service, Prospect warned yesterday.
In the month since the shock announcement of the closure, affecting the future of 1,600 staff, little detail has emerged on how the FSS will be wound down and assets transferred to the police and the market.
Using just the example of cold cases reviews, Prospect said no information has been provided on the future of three key resources:
• FSS' national and local archives
• its specialist cold case scientists
• pioneering technology on which the majority of successful case reviews depend.
FSS has assisted more than 38 police forces in their reviews of historic offences, and helped secure convictions in over 220 cases.
But this would not have been possible without the service's national and local archives, said Prospect deputy general secretary Mike Clancy.
"As the police retain little paperwork or exhibits for anything other than certain homicides, they rely entirely on the archives to progress all cold case investigations. Yet we have no indication of what will become of these key resources."
Prospect issued a news release yesterday (25 January) spelling out these concerns in more detail.
More than 22,000 people have now signed a petition opposing the closure.
Find out more on Prospect's Forensic Science campaign page.