Posted at 10.28.2018
How important is 'Quality' in Forensic Knowledge? Some may say 'Quality' is very important among others may disagree. The purpose of this essay is to outline the value 'Quality' has in Forensic Science and whether 'Quality' is utilized in every Forensic settings. What is Quality assurance? Quality assurance is the basic maintenance of a specific level of Quality within an operating practice, designed to ensure attention to fine detail is achieved and products are free of faults (5). In this case Quality assurance is becoming an essential aspect of modern forensic research (8), it is guarantying that a consistent group of standard and integrity and the amount of maintenance is achieved and suffered throughout Forensic research establishments. This means making certain reliable and correct testing are carried out at all times (6). Quality assurance includes Quality control inspections to be done to confirm that test results obtained are appropriate and reliable (6) which assures that the typical of Quality is being maintained.
Forensic Science has an important part to learn in unlawful investigations whenever a case is taken to court. Forensic science involves the seek out and study of evidence that can be useful in protecting convictions (1). It really is a very important aspect as it relies on science testimonies rather than witness statements. For Forensic Research to be completely relied on inside a case, the Quality of the Laboratory where in fact the evidence is evaluated should be an appropriate operating working standard (Quality assurance).
Why is Quality considered to be important? Well if Quality confidence and control are not programmed in a establishment such as a Laboratory, many companies will conclude customising their own policies. This will only result in random screening being done and different interpretations being attained that won't coincide with each other. But why is this important in Forensic Technology? It is important in the Forensic knowledge environment because if every laboratory adopted their own regulations, for example how research is tested and what conditions they are simply tested in, when research is offered in court there could be questions on 'how do we really know what conditions research is analyzed in (could there b contamination) and if protocol and steps used by the corporation is right'. For standard of technique to be preserved, I believe it is important that Laboratories that handle evidence are licensed and use the same methods and policies throughout to ensure all email address details are co-insistent with one another.
Andrew Rennison the Forensic Science Regulator from 2008-2014, main job was to ensure that all Forensic Science services had the appropriate regime of clinical quality requirements (2). Over the years he advanced or made new requirements of quality to ensure Forensic knowledge services such as Laboratories underwent accreditation. He wanted to ensure that all crime scene research were being analyzed in the best (certified) Laboratories there were. However under enough time Andrew Rennison was the Forensic Research Regulator there were many Laboratories that were handling criminal data without being officially approved. Could these results of research pieces be totally relied on? Why weren't these Laboratories certified?
Accreditation is the method of assessing the reliability and integrity of your organisation such as a Laboratory ensuring it meets the specific requirements in order to reduce dangers under the international accreditation expectations (3). The organisations which appoint accreditation are called 'accreditation systems' (4). There are lots of steps that are considered for a company to get accreditation. One of the first steps requires registry, this involves money. Could this be the key reason why many Laboratories aren't licensed? Well in 2013 many companies lost accreditation, not because these were dirty and viewed as unreliable with proof testing but anticipated to a failure of not paying the fees. Accreditation seems to be a voluntary process, but so how exactly does one know if the amount of Quality has been maintained in a firm were accreditation has not be achieved? Surely it ought to be compulsory, especially for Laboratories that are handling evidence which may be presented to court docket.
Are certified Laboratories better to use than the non accredited ones? Well that is a personal opinion. Put yourself in this situation, evidence provided against you. Do you want to buy to be examined in a Lab, where in fact the standard of quality is high as they may have handed down inspections and gained an accreditation certificate or in a Lab where in fact the quality of the Laboratory is unknown plus they never have gained accreditation, due never to paying fees or various other reason?
In London there a wide range of Laboratories that are in the process of attaining accreditation, but are still undergoing evidence screening. Although accreditation has a major part to experience with the maintenance of quality, there are other factors that affect quality standards. Including the closure of the Forensic Science Service (FSS) had an effect on quality in the Forensic knowledge industry. This is because many small companies got the pressure located in it and received a bulkier workload which lead to numerous mistakes developing, questioning their standard of quality (7).
What happens if Quality is not retained? Well there a wide range of cases where poor quality requirements in a Laboratory have caused situations to be evaluated or collapse, this is because of the Forensic proof being reviewed and tested inappropriately or with possible contaminants. There's also situations where good standard of quality has lead to evidence being tested appropriately and lead to convictions. For example the convictions made in the Stephen Lawrence circumstance was due to the intensive work and excellent standard of quality both in the Laboratory and the scientists work. Examination was done on the jacket and sweatshirt worn by the suspects in the event, twice in 1993 and 1995. Both times researchers found no conclusive proof. Could this have been because of the way in which quality was handled in Forensics? Well in 2006 all facts items in the event was submitted to LGC Forensics (9), at the moment the Laboratories used were all certified therefore were deemed to comply with the standard of quality (10). Not only did the Laboratory and the experts find DNA contaminants, in addition they found locks and 7 fibres from the sweatshirt, where 6 matched the victim's trouser and a lone fibre which matched the victim's polo shirt (11). Another 16 fibres were found on the jacket of the second suspect that was also a definite match to the victim (9). Surely the two failed makes an attempt of not finding any evidence could have observed the suspects get away with murder if the LGC Forensics a certified Laboratory had not got engaged.
However although LGC Forensics were credited for the great work they undertook in the Stephen Lawrence circumstance, the corporation was put under scrutiny in 2011 whenever a think was wrongly convicted of rape. The evidence posted to the Laboratory was later shown to have one of contamination at that time the data was examined (12). This demonstrates although a Laboratory is accredited and is thought to have a higher standard of quality, there can be many situations where the standard of quality can be flawed.
In this article the value of quality in Forensic science has been explored. How licensed Laboratories have had good standard of quality and also how approved Laboratories have failed in preserving their quality has been discussed. When quality within a Forensic setting falls below a certain standard faults such as contaminants in the rape case seen above can occur. If quality is to be maintained throughout, more routinely checks should be achieved by both Accreditation physiques and owners of companies. This will likely ensure the level of maintenance needed is managed always, all standard types of procedures are being adopted for screening done by new and existing experts and equipment is thoroughly checked and cleansed to prevent contamination. The typical of quality may have decreased when the FSS was sealed, as they received heavier workloads which lead to them making many errors but also because many experienced and educated experts in specific areas were kept without a job. Although the standard of quality may have lowered, I believe the typical of quality has risen in the Forensic world as cases such as Stephen Lawrence, wouldn't normally have had the breakthrough it do if the typical of quality in the Lab was low in case the quality performed by the scientist's did not reach the levels needed in the current Forensic research services.
Hopefully in the future you will see a rise in the number of approved Forensic Laboratories so maintenance of quality can be slightly controlled as I believe quality has a significance importance within Forensic technology.