We’re excited to announce that the Home Office has approved funding for three innovation workstreams.

Forces were invited to comment on the proposals and submit expressions of interest, there was overwhelming support received from the community, the NPCC forensic portfolio sub-groups and portfolio lead enabling us to progress the business cases with the Home Office.

All three workstreams will help forces to improve quality and meet the accreditation requirements associated with the Forensic Science Regulation Act.

Computer Ground Truth Dataset (GTD)

Back in July we reported that every force would be in line to receive a robust GTD package of physical items, files and supporting documentation.

The final step was to confirm the funding. Now that’s done we can begin the procurement process and get the package to forces. The investment of £45,000 provides significant value and costs nothing to forces individually.

SARC Validation Consumables and Tests

Last year’s validation exercises demonstrated the benefits of a collaborative approach, not only providing validation necessary for accreditation but also providing the breadth of data required to influence regulatory requirements when appropriate. 

The £176,000 of funding will be used to carry out the remaining central validation exercises, covering the costs of consumables, couriers, tests and UKAS review. The work carried out by FCN specialists will be funded from our existing budget.

You can read more about the work we’ve done to support SARCs.

Awareness Training: Accreditation, Quality & Regulation

The Forensic Science Regulators Act 2021 places new requirements around forensic science activity and the publication of a new FSR Statutory Code. Failure to meet these requirements will be admissible in court.

There are significant risks of further knowledge gap developing, so we’re going to produce training and awareness materials to suit a range of audiences, including senior officers, non-forensic leads, manager and practitioners.

This proposal is supported by forensic leads and quality managers and a community group is helping shape the material to ensure it meets local needs. 

The £80,000 of funds will cover the cost of professionally producing the materials. As with each of these proposals the cost of FCN resource to progress these workstreams are covered by our current budget.

The material won’t be finalised until the Code is complete, to make sure the two are in complete harmony.

NPCC Forensic Quality Lead, Chris Porter, said:

“Driving quality standards within forensics is vitally important. I’m very pleased to see the FCN working closely with the community to help forces achieve this, and I look forward to seeing the impact of these workstreams and the benefits they will deliver.”

FCN’s Quality Director, Debbie Pendry, added:

“I’m confident these innovative pieces of work will provide a significant benefit to forces across England and Wales. I’m very proud of the work our team have done on behalf of the forensic community. By coordinating these workstreams we can save forces huge amounts of money and resources.”

Find out more about FCN’s approach to forensic quality.