Page last updated at 14:03 GMT, Tuesday, 17 May 2011 15:03 UK

MPs raise concerns over future of forensic science service

Concerns have been raised during a Westminster Hall debate on 17 May 2011 that the closure of the Forensic Science Service (FSS) could have a detrimental effect on the solving of crimes.

The debate will be led by the Labour MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, Jonathan Reynolds.

The government announced in 2010 that the FSS would close, with as many of its operations as possible being transferred or sold off.

Opening the debate, Labour MP Jonathan Reynolds said that forensic science had been vital in cases such as that of Dr Harold Shipman.

The government hopes that private enterprise, which currently makes up 40% of the market, will fill the gap left behind by the FSS.

However Mr Reynolds said he was worried that there would be a "piecemeal" approach to forensic science.

The FSS employs 1,600 people and analyses evidence from crime scenes in England and Wales, but has been losing about £2m a month.

Home Office Minister Damian Green responded to the debate by saying that the changes were necessary due to the financial circumstances of the FSS, but said he would ensure that there was a "maintenance of supply" to the criminal justice system.

He claimed that constituents did not care who provided the service, as long as it was provided in an efficient fashion.

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