US News Met Police under urgent review over 'forensics mishandling'

22:10  08 may  2018
22:10  08 may  2018 Source:   news.sky.com

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Scotland Yard is reviewing all current rape and sexual abuse investigations © PA Scotland Yard is reviewing all current rape and sexual abuse investigations

An urgent review will be conducted into the Metropolitan Police amid allegations 33 cases were "affected" by forensics mishandling.

The Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) is to investigate allegations relating to the suspected mishandling of examinations within the Met's forensic laboratory.

It is claimed a scientist working within forensic services did not complete the requisite examinations - and in some cases, wrongly informed investigators about the progress of the examinations.

The scientist was suspended on 26 March as part of the investigation.

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Forensic scientists at work in the LGC Forensics laboratory in Culham, Oxfordshire © getty Forensic scientists at work in the LGC Forensics laboratory in Culham, Oxfordshire

A statement from the Met said: "An internal review has found that 33 separate criminal investigations have been affected - 21 of these cases relate to investigations into rapes and other sexual assaults; the remaining 12 are investigations into violence, burglary and drugs offences.

The cases relate to crimes whereby items were submitted for forensic examination between 2012 and 2017.

"We are urgently conducting a review to understand whether there is any risk to the criminal justice process and to take remedial action where necessary.

"All victims in the affected cases have been contacted, where it has been deemed appropriate to do so.

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"But I think it also shows something else - what we're seeing over the last year or two or three, is a huge increase in the volume of particularly electronic material that features in criminal cases. Metropolitan Police review of rape cases evidence.

Police are conducting an urgent review into allegations 33 criminal investigations were potentially affected by suspected forensics blunders, including The Met announced the first details of the latest review on Tuesday afternoon. It said: “We are urgently conducting a review to understand whether

"In the case of the investigations into rape and sexual assaults, victims have been contacted by a Sexual Offences Investigative Techniques officer."

  Met Police under urgent review over 'forensics mishandling' © getty

A full audit was carried out into the scientist's workloads within the department, the Met said, to make sure there were no other instances of undeclared work.

The case was also referred to the Forensic Science Regulator.

It comes after it emerged that evidence in 10,000 cases may have been tampered with by rogue staff at a laboratory in Manchester.

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