Marlyn Glen MSP

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Scottish Labour MSP for North East Scotland

Dundee Forensics : MSP to raise transfer costs again with Justice Secretary

17 January 2011

Marlyn Glen said today that she will raise once again with Justice Minister Kenny Macaskill the cost of adapting the new police forensic laboratories in Dundee to accommodate the proposed change over from chemistry to biology.

Ms. Glen who had written to the Justice Minister protesting at the proposed transfer of chemists from Dundee’s new forensic laboratory to Glasgow, said that the Minister’s reply did not provide ” a clear answer on the cost of the change in speciality.”

She said,

“The Justice Minister makes his case against the retention of chemistry forensics in Dundee by assertion rather than by evidence.

” He states that the proposals to transfer chemistry away from the city would make the service ‘more resilient’ without defining or describing what this means.

“There appears to have been little or no professional consultation with the professional staff involved that takes account of their concerns arising from their expertise.

” The replacement of a chemistry laboratory by a biology one obviously has implications for increased cost which he has not addressed. ”

Ms. Glen also raised with the Minister the effects of the transfer of posts on the efficiency of the court system in dealing with cases involving drugs in Tayside whereby chemical verification in alleged crimes and offences will now take place in Glasgow rather than in Dundee, the additional time, costs and resources that will now arise in dealing with such verification in Tayside courts.

She added, “UNISON are right in saying that the loss of 74 experts in a high-skilled field such as forensics in Scotland will impact on the quality of the analytical services provided.

“These professionals have a decisive role in assisting the police and the courts in their detailed examination of crimes.”

Mr. MacAskill replied to her saying,

“The facility in Dundee is a modern space that is designed to flexibly meet the needs of all aspects of modern forensic delivery and will be a major player in this new national structure.

“This new structure will assist SPSA forensic services in being more resilient and consistent – not less.”

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