FCN’s accreditation support team has helped 23 forces prep for UKAS assessment ahead of looming deadlines, with 12 successfully accredited so far.

FCN has helped more than half of police forces in the UK prepare for accreditation ahead of looming statutory deadlines set by the Forensic Science Regulator.

Any organisation providing forensic services to the criminal justice system are required to meet the requirements of the Forensic Science Regulator’s Codes and quality standards such as ISO/IEC 17020 and 17025. For volume crime scene investigation (CSI) the deadline is October 2022 and for digital forensics it was October 2017 for laboratory activity and October 2022 for scene activity.

FCN’s quality team, which includes former UKAS assessors, travels the country providing forces with a range of services including method witness assessments, document and procedural reviews and other advice. They also share updates and advice through the fortnightly Quality Matters publication. The team includes Lee Major, James Kendall-Milnes, Dianne Toyne and Jane D'Arcy, their collective experience and knowledge enables them to support police forces to gain accreditation and comply with regulatory requirements.

Since its launch in 2020, FCN has helped 22 police forces prepare for CSI accreditation.

Of these forces which commissioned FCN’s support, 11 forces have been successful at assessment so far, including Hampshire, Staffordshire, South Wales, Thames Valley, West Midlands and five forces in the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU).

FCN also provided support to City of London, Cumbria, Dyfed Powys, Merseyside, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and four forces in South West Forensics as they prepare for assessments. National organisations such as British Transport Police, Police Service Northern Ireland and the Scottish Police Authority have also been advised.

MPS’s Forensic Consultant Crime Scene Examination, Ruth Buckley, said:

“The mock scene assessments conducted by the FCN were beneficial in boosting the Practitioners’ confidence as the MPS approached the Incident Scene Examination assessments.”

After the South Wales and Gwent Joint Scientific Investigation Unit was recommended for CSI accreditation, Detective Superintendent Mathew Lewis, Head of JSIU, commented:

“I really want to thank you and your team for all the assistance you have given us. The fact you had flagged up issues to us meant that there were no big surprises and we were able to provide answers to any difficult questions.”

In Thames Valley Police, the County Forensic Manager Will Davies shared his force’s accreditation journey in an exclusive FCN blog. Thames Valley Police’s Acting Technical Manager, Clair Whatman, said:

“You really helped to reassure the team and having the practice run through with yourselves made a huge difference to the confidence of the two CSIs.”

In digital forensics, FCN has provided accreditation support to City of London Police, Humberside Police, Staffordshire Police and West Midlands Police. Of these four, Humberside is the only one to have had its UKAS assessment and were recommended for accreditation in June 2022.

Humberside’s Head of DFU and Chief Inspector said:

“We have nothing but positive comments to make regarding your guidance and support throughout our accreditation journey. These meetings and visits from you in our opinion significantly contributed to our success. As the head of the DFU I wanted to personally send you my thanks and appreciation for your commitment and professional approach provided to our unit which contributed to this achievement.”

In addition, a West Midlands Police digital imagery and reconstruction manager said the FCN visit “really homed in on our gaps and helped us get a plan in place to overcome them”.

To receive accreditation support from FCN for your police force, please contact us.

To register to receive Quality Matters, contact fcnqualityteam@dorset.pnn.police.uk.