PFS presents The Integrity of Scientific Evidence

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Understanding and Minimising the Risk of Contamination in the Forensic Process, Fri 21st Sept, The Royal York Hotel, York

This very successful one day workshop designed and presented by PFS was held in conjunction with the Forensic Science Society at the Royal York Hotel.   The day was a unique opportunity to meet PFS practitioners involved in different parts of the forensic science process, from crime scene through to interpretation of scientific evidence and its presentation in court.  The day was attended by a large number of delegates representing forensic scientists, crime scene examiners, lecturers, students and police officers wishing to enhance their understanding of how to minimise, control and manage the risk of contamination in the whole forensic process.  Break-out groups featured lively debate discussing current practices for detecting contamination and tools for the future in crime scene management, GSR, DNA & body fluids and quality systems.  The output from the break-out groups proved to be very constructive and the issues discussed were captured and following the workshop shared with delegates and the Forensic Regulator.  We hope this will translate to raising awareness and standards in this area.

The learning points for the day included:

  • Identifying the risks and consequences of contamination events.
  • Looking at key practices and appropriate standards needed to minimise contamination in the whole forensic process.
  • Exploring ways in which contamination can be detected and monitored.
  • Identifying the mechanisms of contamination using real examples.
  • Discovering interpretational aspects of results drawing on assessment and interpretation principles to help evaluate whether contamination has occurred.
  • Covering the development of new standards and policies in relation to contamination.

From left to right: Julie Allard, Jonathan Whitaker, Kerri Allen, Sue Pope, Mike Barber, Anne Priston, Angela Shaw, Gill Tully and Kevin Sullivan.