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Forensic Science Service

Volume 533: debated on Tuesday 11 October 2011

8. What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for the Home Department on the effect on prosecutions of the closure of the Forensic Science Service. (72852)

I have met the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, my hon. Friend the Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (James Brokenshire), who has responsibility for crime and security, twice since April 2011 to discuss issues and progress around the closure of the Forensic Science Service. Furthermore, representatives from my office and the CPS attend regular Home Office-led FSS transition board meetings and participate in key groups leading the FSS closure process.

Will the Attorney-General clarify whether he and the CPS were consulted before the announcement of the FSS closure? If so, what was his response and that of the CPS?

Yes, we were consulted, and our response was that, on the basis of our understanding of how the closure was to be carried out, the Director of Public Prosecutions was satisfied that the quality of forensic science available to the CPS would be maintained.

In view of that intervention, I would simply add that the current position is that the closure process has been monitored and the DPP remains satisfied at present that in no case has the closure of the FSS had any impact on his ability to carry out prosecutions within the CPS.

I am immensely grateful to the Attorney-General, whom no one could ever accuse of excluding from his comprehensive answers any fact that he judges to be material. We are most grateful to him.