Across policing and law enforcement in England and Wales, more than 4,000 people are employed in various forensic science capabilities: crime scene investigation, fingerprint enhancement laboratories and identification bureaux, imaging units and digital forensic units.
They perform critical roles but all too often they work in relative isolation, trying to tackle almost identical problems and often without easy access to learning from elsewhere.
The FCN is designed to change this by providing the additional capacity needed to work with members and appropriate partners from across academia and industry to:
- create and maintain professional knowledge bases and quality management systems, able to be accessed by practitioners right across the FCN;
- create and maintain appropriate development programmes and career pathways for forensic science practitioners as part of a broader national workforce development and retention strategy;
- attract and shape the forensic scientists of the future;
- reduce members’ accreditation burden by producing and validatinga comprehensive suite of standard operating procedures and achieving a ‘validate once; verify many’ approach across the network;
- support members to identify and introduce new capabilities right through from initial research and development to validation and deployment;
- support scientific support units and their forensic science practitioners in achieving the skills balance required between traditional and digital forensics;
- give practitioners a stronger voice and a greater sense of ownership of this critical area of our work, so that, in line with Policing Vision 2025, we can inspire them to create the capabilities, systems and processes that will enable them to provide the first- class services that the public deserves.