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Forensic Services

Co-ordinating the movement of all submitted exhibits.

Forensic Services is based at Police Headquarters and comprises of a number of work areas that deliver detailed forensic strategy development, case management, quality standards, performance, training, technical management for DNA, footwear and mark enhancement services and the following lab based activities:

  • Fingerprint enhancement
  • Footwear coding, intelligence and screening
  • DNA recovery

Forensic Submissions

Forensic Submissions is the central point for the force for advice, support and access to a wide variety of forensic disciplines.

By assessing the individual circumstances of all types of cases for investigative requirement, community impact and forensic potential, Forensic Submissions negotiate and agree forensic strategy and commission analysis to ensure both the requirements of the Criminal Justice System are met and that best value is obtained from the available forensic resources.

They also coordinate the logistics of exhibits to both internal experts and external Forensic Service Providers (FSPs) maintaining continuity and integrity of the evidence.

Forensic Submissions also manage the technical procurement activity, contract or SLA adherence and expenditure for all outsourced forensic services for Staffordshire Police.

Forensic Footwear Unit (FFU)

forensic footprint analysisForensic evidence from footwear marks left at crime scenes can provide significant evidence to demonstrate activity of individuals and a sequence of events in relation to a criminal offence. Footwear evidence is a powerful tool to show that a shoe made a particular mark within a crime scene and to provide a link between multiple crime scenes. Depending on the circumstances of the offence, footwear evidence can also offer a time period of when it was likely to have been deposited, for example, by being left in a specific substrate, such as marks in blood.

The FFU provide technical advice and support to the force on footwear evidence. Footwear coding, intelligence and screening services are provided by the Forensic Footwear Unit (FFU) within Staffordshire Police with any evidential requirements being supplied by an external contracted Forensic Service Provider (FSP).

The FFU are currently ISO 17025 accredited for footwear coding and are in the process of seeking accreditation for intelligence provision and screening. For more detail on accreditation status please contact the FFU.

Forensic Recovery Unit (FRU)

The Forensic Recovery Unit is responsible for the examination of scenes and exhibits to either enhance fingerprint and footwear marks or identify and recover potential DNA material to support criminal investigations.

Mark enhancement is achieved by the application of chemicals and/or powders to different surfaces which adhere to marks making them more visible and detailed. Enhanced marks are then examined by the FRU and, if considered suitable, they are captured and forwarded to the relevant forensic expert for further analysis and expert opinion.

The examination and recovery of potential DNA material is conducted in a specialist DNA clean laboratory to ensure the integrity of any recovered material. Recovered material is submitted to a contracted external forensic service provider for further processing and analysis.

The FRU are currently ISO 17025 accredited for a number of mark enhancement and capture techniques as well as DNA examination and recovery in some cases. For more detail on accreditation status please contact the FRU.

Quality Services, Performance and Training

The Quality Services team are responsible for managing the strategic direction and development of Quality, Performance and Training for the Forensic Department.

Primarily they manage the implementation and maintenance of ISO 9001, 17020 and 17025 quality standards and the Forensic Regulator's Codes of Practice in specific units across the Department to ensure compliance with mandated milestones.

This involves managing and maintaining a quality management system (QMS) for the Forensics department which includes but is not limited to:

  • Issue, archive and version control of standard operating procedures.
  • Validation and verification records for technical processes.
  • Maintain competency records for staff.
  • Management of quality assurance eg, internal and external audits, proficiency testing participation.
  • Monitoring customer satisfaction, feedback and resolution of issues to inform and promote continuous improvement.

In addition to this, the Quality Services team monitor and quality assure Force performance with regards to Forensics and Home Office data returns; highlighting good and poor performance. They also work closely with Forensics managers and supervisors and Learning and Development to monitor continuous personal development for all staff within the Forensics Department in line with National Occupational Standards.