A new state-of-the-art DNA profiling laboratory which will speed up the processing of DNA evidence has opened at the Met’s Lambeth HQ.
The new on-site service will significantly reduce the time it takes to get DNA profiling results, giving speedier results to investigating teams.
Before now, samples recovered by MPS Forensic Scientists were transported by courier to a laboratory in Teddington for DNA profiling, and results often take several days.
The facility, which opened last week, will initially process urgent and high priority samples.
Once fully operational, the majority of all DNA analysis for forensic casework will be processed at Lambeth with an ability to start DNA profiling of urgent samples – such as blood, saliva and ‘touch’ samples – within one hour of them being received by staff.
The new DNA laboratory follows the launch of the Rapid Drugs Service (RDS). This pilot scheme launched in June and offers fast-time analysis of drugs found on people arrested on suspicion of drugs offences, to aid investigations and speed up charging decisions and judicial outcomes.
This service has been designed to service the needs of the Met, and will be provided as a partnership between the Met’s Forensic Services and its managed service provider, Eurofins.
The delivery of a DNA laboratory is one of a number of key objectives for Forensic Services to enable frontline policing with real time results to support investigations, and improve operational efficiency.
Detective Chief Superintendent Richard Wood, who leads the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command (SCO1), said of the new service: “The early stages of any investigation are crucial – any police officer will tell you that the first 24 to 48 hours are vitally important. Speed is of the essence in terms of securing evidence, particularly forensic evidence, and identifying suspects as part of our duty and commitment to protect the public and bring criminals to justice.
“A quick DNA result could make all the difference in having a suspect in custody and off the streets quickly. This new DNA lab at one of our inner-London sites will be more convenient for frontline officers, and getting the results of forensic evidence back speedily will be a real boost for investigators.”
Chris Porter, Director of Forensic Services, said: “Following the roll-out of the Rapid Drugs Service in the summer, this is another fantastic example of the collaboration between Met Forensic staff and Eurofins, to deliver tangible benefits to frontline policing.
“Although we will initially start with processing urgent cases, this will extend over the next year and will significantly increase the speed with which we can produce DNA results for investigators.”
Dr Mark Pearse, Commercial Director of Eurofins Forensic Services, said: “I am delighted that Eurofins has been able to support the MPS with this innovative solution which puts our rapid DNA crime stain lab into the MPS’ own domain, providing an accelerated means of bringing offenders to justice.
“Anything which takes criminals off the street before they have an opportunity to re-offend is a good thing and I know that both the MPS and Eurofins teams have worked incredibly hard to make this Rapid DNA Service happen.
“I am immensely proud of what has been achieved and look forward to seeing the results of this collaboration the coming weeks.”
Photo: Nick Ansell/PA Wire. General view of the Metropolitan Police Control Centre, 109 Lambeth Road, London.