Forensic science in policing is set to receive £25.6m national funding in the next financial year, the government has announced.
In mid-December, Policing Minister Kit Malthouse announced forensics would receive the investment reallocated from the police grant for 2021/22.
Kit Malthouse MP said the government was committed to “helping forces to deliver a fully accredited, more integrated and sustainable forensic service” and “maintaining investment in forensics, including digital forensics, to build capability across policing and for new officers”.
Around £5.5m of the investment will fund the Forensic Capability Network (FCN) for another year, after its launch in April 2020. FCN is policing’s new national, networked approach to forensic science. It employs around 40 experts and is set up to support 4,000 forensic practitioners as well as frontline investigators.
FCN’s CEO Jo Ashworth said:
“This continued investment is excellent news for policing, for the whole forensics community, and most importantly for the public and victims of crime. It’s testament to the fact that we’re collectively doing the right things, and that our vision for a national, networked approach to forensics is supported.”
The remaining £20.1m will be used to continue developing and delivering new forensic science capabilities for police forces, in areas including digital forensics and fingerprints, as part of the NPCC’s Transforming Forensics (TF) programme. With funding confirmed, more detail on the programme’s activities will be made available in the coming weeks.
Chief Constable James Vaughan, who is the TF programme’s Senior Responsible Owner, said:
“We’re very pleased the government continues to recognise the huge challenges facing forensics in policing, and to support us in continuing this important programme. The team are working through the detail on what will be delivered with the funding from April.”
APCC Lead for Forensics and Dorset PCC, Martyn Underhill, added:
“The forensics community in policing is making good progress together and working in a truly collaborative way through FCN and TF. We will keep holding the teams to account and ensure the investment creates a real positive impact for policing and the public.”