The closure of the state-run Forensic Science Service (FSS) has resulted in the Government ‘putting a price on justice’.
That’s the view of Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle, who says his fears over the decision to close the FSS laboratory in Washington Hall Lane, Euxton, have been realised.
He campaigned to stop the closure in 2011, warning that private companies would ‘cherry-pick’ the more profitable cases and leave out anything that isn’t profitable.
Now, a report released by the National Audit Office (NAO) has revealed that spending on costly forensic examinations has been cut by more than £20m in the last two years.
And experts have warned of possible miscarriages of justice as police save money within their own laboratories.
Mr Hoyle said: “I’m not surprised by this assessment from the NAO but I am very angry.
“I warned the Home Secretary in the clearest possible terms that closure and privatisation of these services would be detrimental to delivering justice in this country – and particularly here in the North West.
“I explained that by its very nature, the work carried out by the Forensic Science Service is time consuming and costly – and that the private sector would simply be unwilling to undertake large volumes of work which result in a financial loss.
“And now, within just three years, standards have dropped and the prediction that lucrative services could be ‘cherry-picked’ has come true.
“In this instance the evidence is clear – the Government should never have put a price on justice.”
The report criticised the government for closing down the FSS without properly analysing how the private sector would absorb the work.
It said: “If suppliers did pull out of the market this could present a risk of service interruption, and lack of capacity could hold up criminal cases or cause them to collapse.”