Who we are
As an integral part of the Metropolitan Police Service we are proud of our accomplishments and the service we provide to the community. We encourage teamwork, effective use of our resources, innovation and constant evaluation of ourselves. We value professionalism and are therefore dedicated to provide to the community and the police service, quality, timeliness and excellence throughout the Directorate of Forensic Services.
The Directorate of Forensic Services provides a wide range of expertise in the investigation of the Most Serious Violent Crimes across the MPS. This includes Crime Scene Management and examination, Specialist Imaging and Evidence Recovery, Fingerprint Comparison and Evidential Services.
What we do
Forensic Operations is responsible for the forensic examination of all crime scenes. The 32 boroughs of London have been divided into four “links” each covering eight boroughs, in the north-east, north-west, south-east and south-west. Borough Forensic Managers have an overall responsibility for the forensic response to volume and serious crime scenes. This is delivered to very Serious/Specialist Crime through Crime Scene Managers who work closely with Senior Investigating Officers, providing advice and preparing a forensic investigation strategy.
A further element of the response to Specialist Crime is the examination of armed robbery, kidnap and any other crime scene that falls within their remit.
Each Borough Forensic Manager has a team of Crime Scene Examiners covering the examination of volume crime scenes. They also support Crime Scene Managers at more serious crime scenes, including murder. Crime Scene Examiners provide a 24/7 service and in an average month will examine over 11,000 scenes.
Borough Forensic Managers also have responsibility for links to the Fingerprint Bureau at New Scotland Yard. This ensures that they own the whole of the forensic process from examination to identification of the perpetrator through finger and palm marks.
The Fingerprint Bureau searches and compares finger and palm marks from crime scenes against offender databases. It also compares finger and palm prints of arrestees and those of suspects specified by investigating officers against databases of unidentified marks. It also co-ordinates fingerprint evidence for presentation in court.
Specialist Evidence Recovery Imaging Services (SERIS) provides a number of services to the MPS. A centralised duty office manages all photographic requests and subsequent deployment. The office oversees the attendance of the relevant officers to all major crime scenes, terrorist events, public order and CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear) incidents. The unit also retrieves finger and palm marks by physical and chemical means.
The Evidence Recovery Unit (ERU) undertakes crime scene examination including blood pattern analysis, the enhancement of latent and bloodied shoeprints, recovery of fibres from bodies in situ, scene reconstructions, the light source examination of scenes and bodies, and sampling for DNA.
The laboratory also examines items for the recovery of biological evidence and the enhancement of fingerprints. Also contained within the ERU is the firearms clearing house, which examines firearms for the presence of biological evidence and fingerprints and also classifies the firearms.
The Counter-Terrorism Team is responsible for evidence retrieval from terrorist activities. The squad is unique, as its officers carry out all aspects of its investigation, from retrieval and analysis of evidence to the preparation and delivery of evidence in court. This unit has both a national and international remit.
The Development Group is a small team of forensic staff that specifically works to introduce new techniques and processes to help the Directorate continue to be efficient and effective. Current projects include: Metafor - a new IT-based case management and exhibit tracking system and Career Pathways - a new competency-based development structure designed to provide a flexible and highly-trained workforce.
The Sexual Offences Development Team aims to respond to sexually motivated crime at the highest possible forensic level. There is a dedicated fingerprint team, which specializes in providing interpretation and corroboration evidence incorporating graphics, which has proved crucial in consent cases. Each borough has forensic Sexual Offence Liaison Officers (SOLOs) who are there to forensically support Police Officers and Haven staff. The Forensic Directorate is committed to a 100% forensic intervention in all reported rape cases.