- CASEWORK SERVICESLaboratory services
- BPABlood Pattern Analysis
- COLD CASE REVIEWSThere is no time limit to define a cold case
- FOOTWEARFootwear and footwear marks
- FIRE INVESTIGATIONIdentifying origin, cause and development
- GLASSOne of the most common sample types to be submitted
- GSRGunshot Residue
- PAINTProvides effective, often conclusive evidence
- TEXTILES - FIBRES & DAMAGEAn important & specialised part of forensic casework
- HAIRProvides valuable clues to identity
- TYRE MARKSTyre wear and damage can provide vital evidence
- TOOLS & TOOLMARKSEach tool has a unique microscopic character
- SCENE ATTENDANCEA nationwide service
Advances in forensic science have led to an increased interest in conducting cold case reviews.
A cold case is one which remains unsolved, despite the best efforts of police investigators. They are often high profile cases that have received media attention because they have remained unsolved, as was the murder of Rachel Nickell, the disappearance of Suzy Lamplugh, and the murder of Stephen Lawrence. There is no time limit to define a cold case: the crime may have happened 30 years ago or three years ago.
Police forces now have dedicated teams to determine which cases warrant review. They may have a good suspect, but insufficient scientific evidence to proceed with a prosecution, or they have not been able to identify an offender and are looking to forensic science to provide that crucial lead.
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Cold Case Management
When the case comes to the laboratory, it will be managed by an experienced lead scientist who has dealt with large, complex cases such as murders and rapes and has an appreciation of all potential evidence types, combined with extensive experience of giving evidence in court.
The successful investigation of a cold case also relies on the personal attributes and case handling skills of the scientists. Our lead scientists have excellent customer communication skills and are good at problem solving and innovative thinking. They combine the highest attention to detail with the application of the latest science and technology.
Their work was described, by Scotland's then Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland, as "awe inspiring".
The scientist will ensure that he/she is thoroughly briefed about the circumstances of the case, through case conferences with the officers and through careful examination of all of the documentation available. Often, the most crucial paperwork is that within the original forensic science files. These can prove to be a rich source of material for examination, due to the practice of attaching samples of material and test papers to the files.
Advances in forensic science have led to an increased interest in conducting cold case reviews. DNA profiling has become more and more sensitive and can now detect DNA from samples as small as a single hair or a few skin flakes. However, success frequently relies on painstaking examination using standard forensic techniques.