New partnership aims to make DNA analysis in East Midlands '˜more efficient and effective'

Forensic police professionals across the East Midlands say they hope to make DNA analysis '˜more efficient and effective' after announcing they will be opening up their laboratory site to private sector staff.

The the Forensic Services arm of the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU-FS) will be the first in the country to share laboratory bench space with staff from Cellmark Forensic Services.

The new partnership will see a number of their staff working alongside the EMSOU-FS team, with three scientists based out of a new DNA laboratory at the Arrow Centre in Nottinghamshire.

Chiefs say the need to transport samples to Cellmark’s laboratories in Oxfordshire and Lancashire will be significantly reduced.

This, they add, will not only cut the unit’s carbon footprint, but will make it possible to profile urgent cases from the five East Midlands forces of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire within a matter of hours.

Other benefits will see the fingerprint team will be able to access exhibits for analysis and recovery as soon as the DNA team has finished, also potentially enabling them to turn around results within the same day.

Regional Deputy Chief Constable Martyn Bates said: “DNA profiling is one of the most significant advancements in modern day policing, and it was developed right here in the East Midlands.

“It is not only helping to identify offenders committing today’s crimes, but you may have also heard in the news of cases in which criminals have been convicted years after some of the most serious and violent offences were committed.

“This contract, then, is an innovation in itself. Not only does it mean our DNA samples can be processed more quickly, consistently and to the highest of standards, but it will also bring the scientist and investigator closer together, enabling them to work in the very best interests of each case. In short, it’s going to refine and speed up the investigative process.

“These changes also mean we will be saving money, gaining a great deal from working so closely with a global market leader with a wealth of experience and skills to impart, and allowing for other opportunities to integrate and streamline our procedures.

“All this can only be of benefit to policing and, ultimately, the safety of people in the East Midlands.”

The news follows the laboratory’s recommendation for accreditation by the UK Accreditation Service (UKAS).

David Hartshorne, Cellmark’s Managing Director, said: “This is a very exciting development which is allowing us to bring our forensic expertise closer to police investigators to deliver an extremely rapid and responsive DNA service.

“Our forensic partnership with EMSOU-FS is an innovative way of working and we are delighted that UKAS has recommended our laboratory for accreditation.”