The new hotline, launched by the Forensic Science Regulator in association with Crimestoppers, will allow forensic science professionals to raise concerns about service quality to the Forensic Science Regulator without revealing their identity.
Quality failures, such as sample contamination or data manipulation, can mean innocent people are wrongly convicted or offenders escape justice. This line aims to ensure that any serious issues are flagged to the regulator even if an individual does not feel able to report through the whistleblowing procedures in their own organisation.
The service is run by Crimestoppers, whose agents will record the information provided and pass it to the Forensic Science Regulation Unit (FSRU), to investigate.
Forensic Science Regulator, Dr Gillian Tully, said:
I am delighted that the anonymous hotline is now live.
It is vital that forensic science provision to the Criminal Justice System is of the highest quality.
I hope this anonymous hotline will provide a route for anyone lacking the confidence to report an issue directly to their own organisation or to my office to come forward, so that I can investigate and ensure any necessary improvements are made.
The hotline also enables individuals to flag issues as a last resort when all other options have been exhausted. Individuals can phone 0800 917 0967 or use the online form at crimestoppers-uk.org/forensicregulator to anonymously report their concerns.
Minister for Policing and the Fire Service, Nick Hurd, said:
Forensic science is an invaluable tool for bringing criminals to justice, but we must ensure it works to the standards that the public expects.
I welcome the Forensic Science Regulator’s new anonymous reporting line. It is important we have many routes to identify and prevent any issues within the system.