The fingerprint bureau in Dyfed-Powys Police is the first team to take part in a new national approach to validation, by helping create a package for FCN members to verify their new IDENT1 printers.
The pilot project saw Dyfed-Powys devise and test a method for validating new IDENT1 high-quality printers in the force’s fingerprint bureaux, before sharing the method for use by other members via the FCN team.
FCN’s team led by Validation Specialist Hema Kotecha and Quality Specialist Dianne Toyne is now finalising the national package for members comprising the short verification exercise developed by Dyfed-Powys. Members can access support from the FCN team for their local verification and implementation plan.
Called ‘validate once, verify many’, this approach means only one FCN member needs to validate a given technique or process for all other members to benefit. This avoids significant duplication of effort across 43 forces and creates a more efficient and coordinated way of working with UKAS to secure accreditation under ISO/IEC 17020 and 17025, and meet Forensic Science Regulator (FSR) requirements.
Dyfed-Powys Police Quality Manager, Steve Penhallurick, said:
“We were happy to help and the whole process worked well. This was something we knew we needed to do anyway as we had an upcoming UKAS assessment, so when we saw the opportunity to pilot it, it gave us that final push.
“We wrote a validation plan and then a report of the validation, ensuring it met the regulator’s requirements. Then we spoke with FCN where they gave feedback and suggested tweaks. We’ve incorporated the process into our calibrated system and will review it monthly, quarterly and six-monthly. Hema and the team also identified a few things which we didn't pay much attention to in our existing validation template, but which we will in future.”
Dyfed-Powys Fingerprint Bureau Manager, Dan Davies, added:
“The process was straight forward and we just looked into how to work around it. We end up producing three sets of fingerprints of varying quality and then asked tenprint officers to help load forms onto the IDENT1 container.”
FCN’s team is looking for members interested in undertaking pilots in the fields of crime scene investigation and digital forensics, either as a lead force or in a multi-force team. There will be a rolling validation programme for both CSI and DF activity based on members’ needs as well as FSR requirements. These will help build an FCN validation library containing exemplar validation plans and documents available to all members.
Thanking the Dyfed-Powys team for their work, FCN’s Hema Kotecha said:
“Steve and his team were really enthusiastic and positive about supporting other forces, and we’re very grateful to them for being the first FCN member to feed into this approach. Within a very short turnaround time they produced a validation plan and complete exercise.
“This is a really good example of how the network is helping policing become more efficient nationally – one member validates a technique and the FCN team makes it available to all other members.
“We are now looking for members’ support to validate approaches in CSI and digital forensics. Any police forces or law enforcement agencies who would like to help us validate a technique or volunteer as a pilot force to help close gaps in accreditation, please get in touch.”