Randox and Trimega Laboratories - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:15 pm on 27 November 2017.

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Photo of Lord Rosser Lord Rosser Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow Spokesperson (Transport) 5:15, 27 November 2017

I thank the Minister for repeating the response to the Urgent Question in the other place. Perhaps she can explain, when she comes to respond, why the Police Minister chose originally to make his announcement in a Written Statement on 21 November, and why it has taken an Urgent Question to get an Oral Statement from him. One would have thought that what we are hearing about was sufficiently serious to justify the Minister in the Commons coming to the Dispatch Box without being summoned there through an Urgent Question.

Regrettably, the 2010 Government abolished the Forensic Science Service. Perhaps this is one of the chickens coming home to roost as a result. Randox Testing Services, one of the companies involved, has been quoted as saying:

“We are now well advanced in developing a foolproof testing system which would enhance the security of our operations in the future, to provide the necessary level of confidence”.

Surely a fool-proof testing system being in place would have been part of the terms of its contract to do this work. Will the Minister confirm that that really is not the case, as the statement from the company seems to imply?

Randox has also said that it will be paying the cost of retesting. What about the cost of the police investigations that have been taking place for some time, of the local authority investigations referred to in the Statement and of the costs of obtaining legal advice? Who is going to be paying these? Is it the company, the police, local authorities or the individuals affected? The Police Minister’s Written Statement of 21 November said, in relation to the other company, Trimega—which is now part of Randox:

“The number of Trimega’s customers affected … is unknown. It may never be possible to identify them all, due to poor record-keeping practices”.

Is Trimega in breach of its contract, as a result of having poor record-keeping practices? If so, what are the potential penalties?

Finally, the information that has been given indicates that most drug tests from the current company, Randox Testing Services, between 2013 and 2017 are being treated as potentially unreliable. Will Parliament be told of the extent to which such drug tests—and those done by Trimega in the years before 2013—are found to have been unreliable and the precise impact this has had on individuals? That is the least that the Police Minister now owes Parliament.