Forensic Science Service (U.K.)

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Forensic Science Service (U.K.)

The Forensic Science Service (FSS) is the largest supplier of forensic services to police forces in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, commonly referred to as the United Kingdom (U.K.). The FSS is also a major forensic source of consultancy, training , and support throughout the U.K and overseas. Internationally, the FSS has assisted over 60 countries in various areas of casework, consulting, research, and training, especially with regard to

DNA research and development. In fact, its Research and Service Development unit is internationally acclaimed as one of the leading forensic science research organizations in the world.

The FSS was established as an executive agency of the Home Office of the U.K. government in April 1991 when several forensic laboratories in England and Wales were brought together. It was then merged with the Metropolitan Police Laboratory, London, England, in 1996 to become what is considered similar to the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) Laboratory in the United States. Currently, the FSS is an executive agency of the U.K. Home Office with seven laboratories equipped with the latest technologies. Although the FSS is a critical part of the criminal justice system in the U.K., it performs all of its work independent from the police.

Although capable of providing an array of basic services for nearly any police investigation, the FSS has developed specialized solutions in the following important forensic areas: illegal drugs, high-technology crime, international crime, property crime (such as robbery and vehicle theft), road policing (including offenses of drinking-and-driving), and serious crime (such as murder and sexual offenses). In addition, the FSS pioneered the use of DNA profiling in forensic science when it set up in April 1995 the world's first national criminal intelligence DNA database, the National DNA Database (NDNAD). Under the guidance of the FSS for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), the NDNAD is a very successful international forensic database that contains well over two million individual DNA profiles and an excess of 200,000 crime scene profiles. In the years 2003 and 2004, personnel of the FSS have taken part in about 150,000 criminal cases, participated in approximately 1,700 crime scenes, and appeared around 2,600 times as expert witnesses in court cases.

see also FBI crime laboratory.