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Last Updated: Friday, 17 June, 2005, 15:12 GMT 16:12 UK
Police forensic super unit opens
Fingerprints
The new unit will have modern fingerprinting technology
A 4.2m forensic unit to help South Wales Police investigate current cases, as well as re-examining unsolved ones, has been officially opened.

The unit is equipped with some of the most cutting edge technology in the field of DNA technology, finger printing and facial identification.

It also includes forensic services such as Scenes of Crime and the Police National Computer bureau.

The Scientific Support Unit is the first of its kind in Wales.

The unit, which was operational for two months before its official opening on Friday, sees specialist departments working together to deliver forensic technology.

The force has said it has already seen an increase in the number of criminals caught since it opened.

Based at the south Wales force's headquarters at Bridgend, it includes the fingerprint bureau, the photographic and video imaging unit, facial identification, the DNA Bureau and the fingerprint development unit.

I feel positive that the development of this facility will enable us to put the pieces to unsolved mysteries together much more efficiently
Chief Constable Barbara Wilding

Chief Constable Barbara Wilding said: "South Wales Police has been at the forefront of scientific development throughout its history.

"In recent years we have been particularly successful in utilizing DNA to detect some very serious crimes from the past, including murders and rapes, that had long been thought undetectable.

"I feel positive that the development of this facility will enable us to put the pieces to unsolved mysteries together much more efficiently than was ever possible previously.

"They may also prove particularly effective when used within more historical cases such as the re-investigation into the murder of Swansea sex shop manager Sandra Phillips," she added.

Superintendent Simon Clarke, the lead officer for the Sandra Phillips re-investigation said: "This brand new, state-of-the-art facility will provide the focus and capability for the force to develop all the forensic opportunities available, to help resolve both historical cases, and those that are more recent.

Forensic experts
Forensic scientists will use modern techniques

"We are already seeing significant improvements in the numbers of criminals being brought to justice because of this facility.

"In the two short months that this building has been working operationally, 25 more criminals have been detected from fingerprints, in comparison to April of last year, and 21 more in May than the same period last year, which is extremely encouraging.

"Similarly, we have seen a 37% increase in DNA matches over the same period as a direct result of this new building.

"More criminals are therefore clearly being brought to justice, which I hope in turn will deter others from leading a life of crime, and in the long term - fewer victims."

Secretary of State for Wales, Peter Hain, officially opened the unit on Friday.


SEE ALSO:
Family's hopes over new inquiry
13 Jun 05 |  South West Wales
Mysteries unlocked by DNA
04 Jul 03 |  Wales


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