A collaboration between FCN, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) has secured a £250,000 funding boost to develop a new national forensic science data service, which will enhance research, embed quality and boost procurement.

The service will be a vital resource and hub for the community, delivered through a new online system, which provides easily accessible and quality-assured data, reports and tools.

This data will improve the quality and quantity of research conducted on behalf of policing, as well as enabling new research partnerships, testing of new frontline products and services, and maintaining quality standards among forensic service providers.

Having a national data service will also overcome many local issues for police forces and other organisations, such as storage and distribution problems, at little or no additional cost.

Contents will be indexed and searchable. Users will be proactively notified of changes ensuring they remain aware of the latest developments. Embedded electronic record-keeping will provide a complete, reliable history of data access.

The system will be available to policing, government, academia and industry. A fully functional live service is expected to be available in Summer 2023.

FCN successfully applied for the funding through the Home Office’s Science Technology, Analysis and Research (STAR) scheme. In the past two years, STAR has funded FCN research projects with £1m additional investment.

The activity will be delivered in partnership with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). It will be developed by an advisory board with representatives such as FCN, the Forensic Science Regulator, College of Policing, Home Office and Police Digital Service.

FCN research manager Carolyn Lovell said:

“We’ve heard from several advisory groups that there is a pressing need on forensic science data – poor infrastructure for sharing data, lack of accessible and quality-assured data, storage challenges and so on. In some cases, people are still having to use paper-based systems.

Our solution is a unique system tailored to the specific requirements of the users it will serve.

This is the latest in a string of funding success. It’s great to receive the investment and I believe it will invigorate the forensic research community.”

Find out more about FCN’s research and development activities.