A FORENSIC science expert has accused the Government of “policy neglect” and failing to get to grips with problems in the sector.

Professor Martin Evison, who is president of the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, also said there was the potential for more miscarriages of justice after a number of botched prosecutions by police and the CPS caused by failures to disclose evidence.

Prof Evison, from Northumbria University, told The Northern Echo that the Government had passed the buck following the abolition of the Forensic Science Service in 2012 which led to forensic work being transferred to in-house police laboratories and private providers.

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He said: “The Government needs to come up with a coherent forensic science policy that is both financially and practically effective.

“There is a policy neglect at the moment. The buck is being passed to the police who are incredibly busy and under resourced and under immense pressure to deal with all manner of problems.”

Prof Evison, who specialises in forensic anthropology and facial identification and has worked with the likes of the FBI and the Royal Military Police, added: “Forensic evidence can be critical in certain cases, particularly serious crime.

“Fundamentally there is a risk that arrangements are not in place to ensure the volume of analysis can be done quickly enough and to an adequate standard presently, which is why some prosecutions are falling over.

“Ultimately there is an elevated risk of more miscarriages of justice.”

Last month a report by the Government’s forensic science regulator Gillian Tully revealed some police forces were failing to bring their laboratories in line with official standards.

It also found large volumes of digital forensic science casework – the analysis of phones, computers and CCTV images – were being outsourced to low-cost private forensic labs without any accreditation or oversight.

Up to 10,000 criminal cases are thought to have been affected by alleged data manipulation by individuals working at a Randox Testing Services site in Manchester.

Forces from this region have been caught up in the scandal after sending samples for drug testing to Randox, while two arrests have been made as part of a police investigation.

The Home Office said chief constables and police and crime commissioners decided how to best deploy resources, including on forensic services, and it had been clear that any cost savings being sought must not come at the expense of a reduction in quality standards.

Oversight of the forensic marketplace was led by the National Police Chiefs Council, working closely with the Home Office.

A spokesman said: “The role of forensic science in unearthing evidence in police investigations is an absolutely vital element of the criminal justice system.

“Standards are now higher as a result of the forensic science regulator’s code of practice. In addition, we have already committed to go further and put the regulator on a statutory footing with robust enforcement powers at the earliest opportunity.”