The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) has granted the first accreditation to ISO/IEC 17020 for the examination of crime scenes to Orchid Cellmark Ltd (Cellmark). This accreditation follows the completion of a challenging year long pilot specifically relating to the examination of volume crime scenes. The accreditation of such an unplanned and unpredictable activity presented a challenge to both the pilot organisations and the UKAS assessment team. Consequently, an innnovative approach to the assessments was called for, as the availability of appropriate crime scenes, during the planned assessments, was by no means guaranteed.
UKAS is among only a handful of accreditation bodies throughout the world who now offer accreditation for crime scene examination. Presenting the accreditation certificate to Cellmark, Lord Lindsay, UKAS Chairman said. “Once again UKAS has shown that it is at the leading edge in the field of accreditation by undertaking this innovative pilot. I congratulate Cellmark on achieving the high standard which is demonstrated by attaining UKAS accreditation, and for being the first to accomplish this following the robust and demanding pilot. UKAS continues to support the expansion of quality standards within forensic science, which can only further improve confidence in the evidence being presented to the Criminal Justice System.”
“Cellmark is proud that its scene of crime service is the first in the UK to achieve accreditation to ISO/IEC 17020. This achievement recognises Cellmark’s firm commitment to the provision of high quality, UKAS accredited forensic services to the UK’s police forces” said Peter Harper, Cellmark Quality Director.
The quality assurance of forensic laboratory analysis has been underpinned by UKAS accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025 for over 20 years. Commenting on the expansion of accreditatable services to include crime scene investigation, Andrew Renison, the Forensic Science Regulator, said. “Huge strides are being made towards better quality standards for forensic science with the final gap soon to be plugged with the availability of accreditation for crime scene activities. I am grateful for all the hard work by UKAS to pilot crime scene accreditation, and my congratulations to Cellmark for being pioneers and the first to achieve the accreditation.”