Supporting the delivery of the DNA futures programme through the sharing of knowledge and research.

The FCN R & D seeks to foster a knowledge sharing and research network to improve cross-border collaboration between academia, policing partnerships and related stakeholders. This endeavour will seek to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of policing, forensic science, technology and associated methods and techniques through collaborative Information sharing, broadening access to knowledge and partnerships across the criminal justice system.

  • Improve operational effectiveness through improved information sharing, cross-border and cross-organisational collaboration in research, linking the wider forensic community to research areas outside of the discipline.
  • Enable areas of specific research strength to work together.
  • Support and contribute to the FCN Research and Development Strategy.
  • Encourage and coordinate research salient to operational requirement.
  • Support project coordination and idea development in collaboration with FCN Quality validation requirements.
  •  Improving the transition from research concept to market and / or operational implementation
  • Opportunities to seek collaborative research funding bids.
  • Assure student and post graduate research is shared via the COP repository to support evidence-based policing and via open access repositories.
  •  Oversight and governance from the NPCC Science and Innovation Board.
  • Disseminate research via the FCN Newsletter (keeping the forensic communities updated), or annual events, webinars, symposiums etc.
  • Engagement with both national and international forensic specialists.
  • Support the development and engagement of the FCN Work Force Strategy.

Chair Dr Debbie Sharp FCN Lead Scientist

Debbie has a wealth of experience within forensic science, working previously as a forensic biologist specialising in blood pattern analysis at major crime scenes and latterly, in the development and management of the Forensic Science Services Sexual Offence Service.  Moving into operational policing within the leadership team and supported the design and implementation of the police forensic science laboratory services. Debbie has a PHD in Medical Genetics.

Areas of Research

A general theme was identified across all the physical science research groups that the following is required to support current and future science technologies;

  • Foundational Science Research
  • Effectiveness studies on large scale to determine the best methods of application (within crime scene)
  • Education of the current Science and Technology
  • Standardisation of data sets (to support progression and comparison of research data)
  • A requirement for a central data repository for data

Key topics of interest (assimilated from FSR/Futures/ academic/practitioner research ideas

  • Transference and Persistence challenges and interpretation requires consistency a model is required for the research community to use
  • Location of human touch DNA
  • Opportunities to improve effectiveness and efficiency of searching)
  • Progression of YSTR use and databases
  •  Combined examinations DNA/Fingerprints – sample determination, integrity of mark (FSR1:409)
  • BPA research limited, studies linked to force, stamping cases
  • Deconvolving complex DNA mixtures
  • Broader benefits of Next Generation Sequencing
  • Surname prediction, geographic mapping, ancestry
  • Impact of storage time and temperature on quality and quantity of DNA extracted from forensic samples
  • Identification of optimal recovery methods for DNA as a national study
  • Aging of blood
  • National review of DNA success rates
  • Human factors and decision making in the recovery of DNA
  • Evaluation of the real-life risks of scene to scene contamination – increased anti contamination measures have been introduced but what is the reality? In the absence of quantitative data.
  • Use of genetic genealogy databases in operational setting
  • Near or at scene DNA amplification devices and real time database connectivity
  • Body fluid identification
  • Evaluation of the implementation of DNA 17 and impact on criminal justice processes
  • Communication and presentation of evidence within the court room environment (meaning, interpretation & evaluation of scientific evidence in understandable ways for the non – scientist) utilising current and emerging technologies
  • Focus on the power of forensic intelligence to support investigations
  • Exploration of Omics and nanotechnology in detection of both chemical and biological material
  • Understanding of how human interaction (human factors impact on decision and risk taking at all levels of an investigation from crime scene to court, including the impact of bias beyond confirmation and contextual.


Welcome - FCN | DNA Good Practice - Knowledge Hub (restricted)

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