Streamlined Reporting and the Restructuring of Forensic Expertise

Karen Richmond (Participant)

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

Description

Over the course of the past decade, forensic science provision across the United Kingdom has undergone significant, but uneven, development. Police forces must derive added value from forensic science, whilst providers are tasked with maintaining efficient, high-quality services, which conform to a proliferating body of overarching regulations. Early studies suggest that these economic, and regulatory, developments have had a marked impact within the field of forensic-scientific analysis, significantly altering the way in which expert DNA-profiling evidence is constructed. This presentation assesses the impact of organisational restructuring on the routine practices of forensic DNA experts, focussing on the link between forensic expertise, case assessment, and the construction of analytical, and evaluative, reports. It identifies examples of best practice, whilst highlighting significant problems and opportunities. Questions arise concerning the safety, and utility, of attenuated forms of forensic discourse seen with streamline forensic reporting. It demonstrates that streamlined reports are frequently inaccurate, and often misleading. It questions whether incremental approaches to the disclosure of evidence can provide an adequate basis for expert scrutiny and legal challenge. Finally, it places these developments in a theoretical perspective, and asks whether the SFR scheme - exhibiting a marked ambivalence towards forensic expertise - may ultimately subvert the duty placed on the courts to place forensic evidence in its proper context.
Period8 Nov 2017
Event typeSeminar
LocationNewcastle, United Kingdom
Degree of RecognitionNational