October 19, 2021

More than £ 6million for cutting-edge forensic lab

09 Jul 2021 09:31

The investment will retain expert personnel and secure the long-term future of a vital service.

A new toxicology laboratory for Scotland is to be established to provide state-of-the-art testing capabilities to police and prosecutors.

The Scottish Government is providing over £ 6million for the new specially designed center which will be able to test a wide range of substances, including drugs and alcohol.

The lab will be managed by the Forensic Services of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA FS), providing vital sample testing to the Crown Office and the Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS).

The funding enables the transition from the University of Glasgow’s post-mortem toxicology forensic services to the SPA FS. Highly specialized staff will be moved to the new unit when it opens next year, strengthening their skills in this specialized area.

Today’s funding announcement marks the start of a procurement process that will see the creation of a new facility in the central belt managed by SPA FS.

Justice Secretary Keith Brown said:

“I welcome this investment to provide a new, state-of-the-art facility that will allow the continuation of essential post-mortem toxicology services, ensuring that COPFS continues to meet its obligations to investigate all sudden and unexplained deaths.

“This investment also enables significant operational efficiencies with the new service benefiting from specialized scientific instruments and supplies in a specially designed laboratory. “

Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain QC said:

“This change secures the future of a vital service for investigating unexplained deaths. I would like to thank the University of Glasgow for their hard work over the years, and I am delighted that their expert staff are being retained during the transition.

SPA’s Director of Forensic Services, Tom Nelson, said:

“We welcome this investment from the Scottish Government to support the operation of the Post Mortem Toxicology Service by SPA Forensic Services from December 2022.

“This additional service will be provided from a new laboratory with highly qualified staff currently working at the University of Glasgow, supported by colleagues from Forensic Services SPA.

“SPA Forensic Services will work with key partners to provide an accredited post mortem toxicology service that will meet the needs of the people of Scotland. “


As part of the move to SPA FS, there will be a service level agreement between SPA FS and COPFS, defining key performance indicators (KPIs), including duration of services for each type of priority case, number number of cases to be examined, the type of drugs to be examined, etc.

Performance against these KPIs will be regularly monitored and reviewed by COPFS once SPA FS begins providing the service, and will be reviewed more broadly through reports to SPA’s Forensic Services Committee and the Board of Directors. full of SPA.

Further details on the project will be made public as it progresses.

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