The closure of the Forensic Science Service (FSS) could lead to rapists and murderers evading justice, an MP claimed.
Labour MP Graham Stringer said the Government’s decision to close the service, which was used by 60 per cent of police forces to carry out detailed forensic examinations at crime scenes, would lead to many serious cases going unsolved.
The closure of the service led to hundreds of job losses in the Midlands, as there were major centres in Birmingham and Solihill.
Speaking in the Commons, the MP for Blackley and Broughton said: “There will be cold cases, and maybe current cases, where murderers and rapists get off free because of the changes that have been made.”
Andrew Miller, Labour chairman of the Commons Science and Technology Committee, said police forces’ laboratories will pick up some of the work although they do not have to meet the exacting standards required at the FSS.
There could also be more miscarriages of justice as they may not be as impartial as the FSS, MPs heard. Mr Miller told the Commons there was already a “brain drain”, with hundreds of FSS staff “with years of experience” leaving the industry altogether since its closure was announced in December 2010.
He said ministers were right not to scrap a database of 1.7 million cases but warned that the £2 million estimated annual cost could spiral much higher as new technologies were developed.
The Government now needs to develop a “proper, well-considered strategy” for forensic science, following a review by his committee of what would happen to the service. Mr Miller added: “We concluded that transferring work from the FSS to an unaccredited body posed significant and unacceptable risks to criminal justice.”