In order to meet part of the requirements for ISO 15189 accreditation, SARCs need to demonstrate that the consumables used during a forensic medical examination are manufactured to the ISO 18385 Forensic DNA Grade Standard and continue to meet this standard throughout the SARC receipt and storage process, up to the point of use. The scope of ISO 18385 is to minimise the risk of human DNA contamination in the products used to collect, store and analyse biological material for forensic purposes.
To help address this requirement, Cellmark Forensic Services is working with Scenesafe as part of a SARC National Consumables Validation project coordinated by the Forensic Capability Network (FCN), which is starting in the week beginning 24th January 2022. Every SARC in England and Wales has signed up to participate, with estimated national validation savings of £0.5M.
Forensic Science Regulator Gary Pugh said:
The quality assurance of materials used for collecting DNA in Sexual Assault Referral Centre’s is critical to the accuracy and reliability of forensic evidence. I applaud the collaborative approach taken here, which is both operationally effective and value for money
Cellmark is contributing to the project by undertaking the DNA analysis of a representative number of every forensic DNA grade consumable supplied by Scenesafe to SARCs nationally. The FCN is coordinating the collection of consumables from each SARC for Cellmark to test.
The results of the forensic DNA analysis undertaken by Cellmark, including the levels of any DNA detected, will be evaluated and issued by the FCN as a validation report. The aim is for this validation report to provide the data required by every SARC in England and Wales to evidence that the consumables they are purchasing, plus the procedures carried out by their personnel for the receipt and storage of consumables, are fit for purpose.
For more information about the project visit Forensic Science Regulator praises coordinated approach to validating SARC consumables | Forensic Capability Network (fcn.police.uk)