Well, it looks like the rumours were true – the UK Forensic Science Service is going to be making people redundant, with up to 800 jobs set to go throughout England and Wales and three of the labs being closed or reduced. The FSS is apparently trying to change the way it does business and have five locations, each focused on a different casework type, rather than the current set-up which provides services on a regional basis. These redundancies and lab closures are a direct result of the establishment of other prosecution-focused companies. The buy-out of Forensic Alliance by LGC a few years ago had a major impact and there are now several smaller services providers out there doing an excellent job in specific areas of forensic science. The FSS was originally a goverment organisation, an extension of the Home Office and it seems that it just couldn’t make the transition to competitive market provider.
The question is: what will happen to all those excellent scientists with years of experience and expertise? I guess some in the higher ranks will accept early retirement – but these are the people who have the multi-skills training to do more than just one evidence type. It’s a sad loss of such vast knowledge because at the end of the day, there are only so many places for forensic scientists to work. Perhaps some will relocate to New Zealand….
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