Forensic Science

Home Department written question – answered on 11th February 2004.

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Photo of Lindsay Hoyle Lindsay Hoyle Labour, Chorley

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many crimes have been solved by the use of forensic science in each of the forensic science service laboratories in England and Wales in each of the last three years.

Photo of Hazel Blears Hazel Blears Minister of State (Home Office) (Policing, Security and Community Safety)

It is not possible to provide figures for the number of crimes that have been solved by the use of forensic science as convictions are achieved through integrated criminal investigation and not by forensic science alone. The contribution that forensic science makes to criminal investigation has been assessed separately for:

(a) DNA analysis

(b) non-DNA analysis (for example toxicology and analysis of trace evidence such as fibres, glass etc.).

The Home Office collects data on the number of crimes that have been detected, where DNA match report was available. However, it is important to note that the availability of DNA intelligence in the crime may not have been causal in solving the crime.

The total number of crimes in which a DNA match report was available that were detected for police forces in England and Wales were as follows:

Number of crimes in which a DNA match was available
2000–01 14,785
2001–02 15,894
2002–03 21,098

No data are available on "DNA detections" for each FSS laboratory.

(a) Non-DNA analysis

The contribution of forensic science in the provision of both intelligence and evidence to criminal investigations has been evaluated internally by the Forensic Science Service (FSS). Such assessment is based on the number of cases where the FSS has judged its contribution to be effective. This information has only been recorded from April 2003-January 2004 inclusive, and is set out for each FSS laboratory in the table following.

FSS laboratory Number of evidential cases where the FSS has judged its contribution to be effective Number of intelligence cases where the FSS has judged its contribution to be effective
Birmingham 3,030 19,536
Chepstow 1,741 238
Chorley 3,680 768
Huntingdon 1,448 9,960
London 3,557 1,837
Wetherby 2,645 686
Overall(16) 16,103 (77 per cent.) 33,025 (80 per cent.)

(16) Percentage figures relate to the total number of cases submitted in the stated period for 'evidential' or 'intelligence' casework.

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