Alleged attack

The FSS's ground-breaking work is pushing back the boundaries of science and evolving in order to stay one step ahead if the criminal. Advances in forensic science have allowed for the creation of the K106 Early Evidence Kit. 14 The Kit – available to all UK police forces – allows the early collection of urine samples and mouth swabs by the victims of drug rape. This kit will help preserve traces of drugs that would otherwise be lost within hours of an alleged attack.

Collecting the samples early will give the FSS toxicologists a better chance of finding potentially vital evidence – in turn leading to the possible increase in convictions. The scientific advances have also made an instant test to check for the presence of drugs on objects possible. This test which is simple to do is used at airports by HM Customs and Excise personnel. Once the officer has proved the presence of drugs the items are sent to the FSS toxicologists to identify the drug using Gas Chromatography. In order to prosecute the HM Customs and Excise must obtain a positive result from the test.

The work of the FSS in support of the UK legal system extends beyond the work for the police, though this work still benefits the criminal justice system. The work undertaken includes the laboratory examination of exhibits, the evaluation of forensic evidence, expert witness testimony at court and awareness training. The FSS is often commissioned by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) to re-examine the records associated with the collection and examination of exhibits in the light of modern knowledge and technological advancements.

The FSS provides training courses for the CCRC solicitors and commissioners, helping to raise understanding and awareness of forensic matters. The work of coroners involving unexpected and unnatural deaths can often require forensic expertise in support of other pathology investigations. Deaths where there is no conclusive cause of death can necessitate toxicological investigations looking for drugs, alcohol or poisons. Forensic evidence can also be valuable in the investigation of fires and accidents.

Both the prosecution and the defence need to have access to forensic evidence and support in order to ensure a fair justice system. The FSS are sometimes required to give evidence for both the prosecution and the defence, this was the case in the failed Jeremy Bamber appeal15 which reinforced the FSS's reputation and need for impartiality and independent provider of forensic evidence. Notes to news editors The FSS is an executive agency of the Home Office. It provides a national service, primarily to the 43 police forces of England and Wales.

The NDNAD was set up by the FSS in 1995 and currently holds profiles of more than 1. 7 million suspects and convicted criminals as well as more than 160,000 from crime scenes. DNA samples can be taken from anyone suspected of, charge with, reported for or convicted of a recordable offence. DNA LCN is currently the most sophisticated DNA profiling technique used by the FSS. It is an extension of the routine FSS SGM Plus(tm) profiling technique and enables scientists to produce DNA profiles from samples which contain very few cells, such as a single flake of dandruff or residue left in a fingerprint.