As I said in my recent blog, a little bit of external perspective is always helpful. It reminds us of the big picture – the long term goal.

That’s why I welcomed the recent publication of the Home Office commissioned Joint Review of Forensics. And more importantly I welcomed the review’s Implementation Plan published at the same time.

As our Senior Response Owner, Chief Constable James Vaughan, says, the developing FCN is firmly seen by Government as the long term, sustainable solution to meeting the forensic needs of the service and wider Criminal Justice System.

Of the thirteen actions set out in their plan, eight of them are linked directly to the FCN – clear evidence of real commitment to making it happen.

Officially, we talk about having an FCN Initial Operating Capability (IOC) from April 2020, but many forces already benefit from services it has started to deliver.

We have previously described the great work done by the FCN Commercial pillar. Through the equally fantastic work Debbie Pendry and her Standards and Accreditation team are doing, we are assisting forces to meet immediate and future accreditation needs.

And through the hard efforts of our Digital Forensics project we are beginning to truly understand the scale of the challenge this ever-expanding area of business presents to the service.

However, beyond what is already being achieved we know you want more detail on how we build on these foundations through the FCN and are excited to share our prospectus with you later this month.

It will clearly outline the services that members of the network will be able to not only utilise but continue to shape. This will be your network, designed in a way that means its members set the direction of travel.

It will no doubt leave stones unturned for some of you but again, as Mr Vaughan says, that is the nature of working within an existing landscape where everyone’s starting point is different. We will welcome your questions and challenges as we want this to be the effective solution that we, the Government and many of you feel it can be.