Press release

UK to capitalise on forensic science excellence

A new report by the Government Chief Scientific Adviser sets out how the UK can capitalise on its expertise in forensic science.

Image of DNA / (credit: Micah Baldwin/CC BY-SA 2.0)

The UK could become the world leader in forensic science, Sir Mark Walport, Government Chief Scientific Adviser, will say today (17 December 2015) as he publishes his themed annual report, ‘Forensic science and beyond: authenticity, provenance and assurance’.

The UK has a long-standing reputation for being at the forefront of forensic science innovations, including developing DNA fingerprinting and profiling. But the power of analytical science and its many applications has the potential to deliver benefits to society that go far beyond the criminal justice system.

Sir Mark Walport said:

Forensic science offers great potential as it draws on almost every discipline and in doing so creates widespread opportunity for innovation. The UK needs to capitalise on its current high standing in the traditional applications of forensic science and seize the opportunity to become a world leader in the development and use of technology for prevention, deterrence and detection of fraudulent products and services.

The report identifies some questions for policymakers, practitioners and UK industry:

  • how can we ensure innovation goes beyond the traditional boundaries of forensic science, and think more broadly about applications in new markets and new forms of public service delivery?
  • how can policymakers and practitioners better understand the opportunities and challenges those innovations in existing forensic techniques and emerging technologies present?
  • how can the barriers to communication, consistency, and collaboration be overcome by all those who are involved in forensic science?
  • how can we find better ways to assure the identity of people and organisations on the internet?

The report draws on evidence provided by experts in several fields. The review starts with forensics - the use of analytical science to assist the courts - but then moves on to explore the many ways in which we can use analytical scientific tools, combined with the approaches and skills of forensic scientists, to assure the authenticity and provenance of products and services.

Notes to editors

  1. The Government Office for Science ensures that government policies and decisions are informed by the best scientific evidence and strategic long-term thinking.
  2. See last year’s report, ‘Innovation: managing risk, not avoiding it’.
Published 17 December 2015