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Council for the Registration of Forensic Practitioners

Volume 491: debated on Wednesday 22 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what steps she has taken to ensure an effective transition between the Council for the Registration of Forensic Practitioners and its successor; and if she will make a statement; (269701)

(2) how long she estimates it will take to establish a new regulatory body to oversee forensic practitioners; and if she will make a statement;

(3) whether she has identified the organisation which is to replace the Council for the Registration of Forensic Practitioners as the body to regulate and register forensic scientists; and if she will make a statement.

The Independent Forensic Science Regulator was appointed in February 2008 and given responsibility for regulating forensic science quality standards. Since then he has published his Manual of Regulation, his Review of the Options for the Accreditation of Forensic Practitioners, and Quality standards for the Providers of Forensic Sciences to the Criminal Justice System. The regulator proposes to move to a more robust model of standards regulation that moves the focus from just forensic practitioners to include standards for organisations, practitioners and the science methods used. The forensic science laboratories are already accredited to testing international standards, accreditation that now includes assessment by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) of practitioner competence.

Policy decisions regarding forensic science rest with the Home Office and policy decisions regarding the public funding for CRFP are the responsibility of the National Policing Improvement Agency. However, such decisions were agreed with Home Office Ministers. The Home Office Minister wrote to the Secretary of State for Justice and the Lord Chief Justice with advance copies of the regulator’s report on the Options for the Accreditation of Forensic Practitioners.