Randox and Trimega Laboratories - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:12 pm on 27th November 2017.

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Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department 5:12 pm, 27th November 2017

My Lords, with the leave of the House, I shall repeat a Statement made in another place by my right honourable friend the Police Minister. The Statement is as follows:

“I thank the right honourable Lady for her Question. I apologise that it is me, rather than the Home Secretary, and congratulate Prince Harry on his engagement.

In January, Randox Testing Services informed Greater Manchester Police that there may have been manipulation of test results at its laboratories. Ongoing police investigations have since uncovered that the same manipulation may have also occurred at the Trimega Laboratories. Criminal investigations by Greater Manchester Police into alleged manipulation of toxicology results are still ongoing. Therefore, the House will understand why I must be cautious in my response. However, I want to reassure Members on all sides of the House that this matter is being treated with the utmost seriousness.

The Government’s immediate priority is to work with the police and the independent forensic science regulator to establish the full scale of this issue and the potential impact on the public. A Written Ministerial Statement on the matter was laid in the House by me on 21 November. Public confidence in the justice system is absolutely vital, which is why the Written Ministerial Statement noted that my honourable friend the Justice Minister will oversee the review process for individual cases and will work closely with other Ministers from departments impacted by the outcome of this investigation.

Retesting in criminal cases has been under way since May and is ongoing, and the police, CPS and coroners will be contacting affected individuals once the outcome of the retests is known. The Department for Education has also asked all local authorities in England to review their records to establish whether they commissioned tests from Trimega and consider whether any action is necessary to fulfil their safeguarding responsibilities. It is unlikely that the decisions about the welfare of children will have been taken solely on the basis of toxicology results. However, the Department for Education has asked local authorities to assure themselves that the rationale for decisions made about children’s safety and well-being is not now called into question.

The Government fully understand that people may have concerns about family cases, which is why the Ministry of Justice has also created an application form that allows people to apply to court to have their cases looked at free of charge if they are concerned. Government officials will continue to work with the police to monitor the scale of this pressing issue as further information emerges. Furthermore, as Greater Manchester Police’s investigation continues, we are considering what lessons can be learned to ensure that public confidence in forensic science is upheld”.

My Lords, that concludes the Statement.