Expert to review forensic science laboratory

 

A major review of the State's forensic science laboratory is expected to provide an external expert assessment of its future staffing needs when it is completed by the end of March.

It will also take into account the impact of increased Garda activity and the anticipated establishment of a national DNA database.

Announcing the appointment of Swedish expert Prof Ingvar Kopp to conduct the review, Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Michael McDowell yesterday said it would also examine the scope for improved liaison between the laboratory and An Garda Síochána.

The promotion of forensic science in Ireland in the context of DNA-related developments will similarly be examined.

According to Mr McDowell, the review will take as its benchmarks similar organisations of "excellent repute" in other comparable jurisdictions, and will have regard to best practice generally in forensic science research and training.

Prof Kopp is the former director of the Swedish Forensic Science Laboratory and a founding member of the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes.

Mr McDowell said the Government's recently announced anti-crime package included immediate additional resources for the laboratory and a major investment in a new laboratory facility, which is already at an advanced stage of planning.

But Prof Kopp's review will provide an external and "highly expert" assessment of the future human resource needs of the laboratory, taking into account the impact of increased Garda activity and the needs arising from the anticipated establishment of a national DNA database, he said. The review will commence immediately and will report by the end of March.