Forensic tests for major crimes in Cambridgeshire being carried out again due to data manipulations fears

A forensics test. PICTURE IAN RUTHERFORD. ENGPPP00120110926093207
A forensics test. PICTURE IAN RUTHERFORD. ENGPPP00120110926093207

Forensic tests for major crimes including violent and sexual offences are being retested following an investigation into alleged data manipulation.

Forty-five cases in Cambridgeshire may have been affected by forensic tests carried out by Randox Testing Services in Manchester, it has now been discovered, prompting the retests.

Nationally, more than 10,000 cases may have been affected, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) has said following an investigation.

Cambridgeshire Constabulary, Bedfordshire Police and Hertfordshire Constabulary instigated a review earlier this year after the allegations were first aired and, to date, identified 129 criminal cases - equating to 211 forensic samples - which may have been affected.

The samples date from late 2013 to early 2017.

Superintendent Russ Waterston, Deputy Head of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire’s Criminal Justice and Custody Unit, said: “These cases cover a wide variety of offences.

“The majority relate to road traffic offences but there are also cases relating to violent crime, sexual offences and sudden deaths.

“In line with the national response, the most urgent cases, including those that are currently going through the criminal justice system, are being given retesting priority.

“To date 22 samples have been retested and the results have remained unchanged. As we progress with this review we will of course ensure that contact is made via the Crown Prosecution Service with anyone who has been affected by inaccurate samples.

“Understandably, this news will cause concern but I would like to reassure the public that it is very unusual that one single strand of evidence, such as toxicology results, would form the entire basis of a case. There is normally other significant evidence that supports the decision making of the police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts.

“We are continuing to work closely with the NPCC, the Home Office and the Crown Prosecution Service and our priority is to ensure the integrity of the criminal justice system.”