The FCN is a community of all its members’ forensic science capabilities and expertise - still owned and managed locally but benefitting from a level of collective investment, focus, networking and support that has never been possible before.
At its heart is the desire to work together nationally to deliver high quality, specialist forensic science capabilities; to share knowledge; and to improve resilience, efficiency, quality and effectiveness.
Why is it needed?
An effective forensic science capability is crucial both to law enforcement agencies and the broader criminal justice system. Not only does it provide a significant amount of the evidence needed to identify and bring offenders to justice, but it also plays a pivotal role in securing and maintaining public confidence in what we do.
And yet, despite the excellent work that our individual forensic science capabilities do, they face greater challenges now than ever before.
Put simply, our current forensic science landscape is not sustainable. Fantastic opportunities will go unrealised if we fail to harness our collective efforts, and the challenges we face are so great, they could easily overwhelm any one of us. Here are just five reasons why we believe the FCN is so vital.
- We need a more sustainable and forward-looking commercial marketplace
- This is so we can forecast and communicate our demand effectively; phase our procurement activity; place greater emphasis upon quality, added value and sustainability; and give the market the confidence to invest in the capabilities and capacity we really need.
- Lack of accreditation is an increasing risk for us all.
- By October 2020 more than a hundred different forensic science techniques will need to meet robust ISO/IEC 17025 and ISO/IEC 17020 accreditation requirements. The risk to us all, both operationally and reputationally, of failing to meet our accreditation requirements is immense.
- A more cohesive forensic science landscape will enable much stronger performance.
- The fragmented nature of our current landscape, consisting of numerous different forensic science units all trying to solve similar problems in slightly different ways, just doesn’t make sense, either operationally or financially.
- We need to keep pace with technological change and the resulting increase in demand.
- The demand for forensic science capabilities is rising sharply as the digital footprint associated with crime expands.
- We must attract, develop, and retain a forensic science workforce that can meet the needs of both today and tomorrow.
- By working together, we can provide the knowledge, support, professional development, career pathways and modern forensic tools that we need to be able to retain, develop, and nurture a fully equipped, empowered, and sustainable workforce.
Fit for the future
In the Forensic Capability Network, we believe that we have found the right solution to these issues:
- a way to give effective support to NPCC portfolio leads; harmonise our collective efforts; maximise investment; transform our forensic science landscape and achieve a paradigm shift in both our individual and collective performance;
- a club that we can all own and develop in the way that makes most sense to us, as those responsible for delivering policing and law enforcement outcomes to our communities;
- a truly networked policing model that leaves Chief Constables and PCCs in control of what forensic science activity is undertaken and where, but creates the environment that enables FCN members and the FCN community as a whole to maximise resources, resilience and effectiveness.