Author Topic: UK - Wetherby forensic lab closure within days  (Read 1277 times)

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Offline JC

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UK - Wetherby forensic lab closure within days
« on: March 28, 2012, 03:28:38 am »
A forensic science laboratory where high-profile criminal cases have been dealt with is to close its doors at the end of the month.

The work undertaken by the scientists in Wetherby, West Yorkshire, is to be transferred to a private firm in Wakefield with the loss of 130 jobs.

The Home Office has said the service was economically unviable and incurred "huge losses".

Union Prospect said it was "deeply disappointed" by the closure.

The laboratory off Audby Lane in Wetherby has dealt with evidence in cases as diverse as the assassination of the Swedish prime minister Olof Palme in 1986 and the disappearance of Peter Falconio in Australia in July 2001.

'Huge Losses'
Evidence from the Yorkshire Ripper murders, the disappearance of Dewsbury youngster Shannon Matthews and the death of Lesley Molseed was dealt with at the Wetherby laboratory.

But the Home Office has closed down the service nationally, delegating the work to private providers and police forces.

In a statement the Home Office said: "The reality is that the Forensic Science Service (FSS) was making huge losses.

"The managed wind-down of the FSS has ensured that the police and the criminal justice system continue to have the forensics capability to protect the public and bring criminals to justice.

"Significant progress has been made over the past year and the majority of the FSS's work has already been transferred to alternative forensic service providers, all of whom are accredited to required standards.

"The transition remains on schedule to be completed successfully by the end of this month.

"We are determined to ensure the continued provision of high quality, effective forensic services to the criminal justice system."

'Deeply disappointing'
Prospect union negotiator, Steve Thomas, said questions remained over the logistics of how the area covered by several police forces across the north east of England would be served.

He said at the time of the announcement in December 2011: "This is deeply disappointing both for our members, who had fought hard to maintain the service in some public capacity, and in terms of the loss of skilled employment opportunities in Wetherby.

"Our members are to be commended for the passionate support they have provided to the police forces of the north east during the last year when a question mark hung over their own future."

The FSS had two offices in Birmingham and sites in Chepstow, Chorley, London, Huntingdon and Wetherby.

The FSS provided services to police in England and Wales.

Source: BBC News
"Bringing Forensics Together"