Data Manipulation in Forensic Services
Statement about issues of data manipulation in forensic services
Bedfordshire Police, Cambridgeshire Constabulary and Hertfordshire Constabulary instigated a review earlier this year after allegations came to light in connection with forensic toxicology tests carried out by Randox Testing Services.

This is a nationwide issue and the three forces are working with partners including, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), the Home Office and the Crown Prosecution Service.

Superintendent Russ Waterston, Deputy Head of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire’s Criminal Justice and Custody Unit, said: “We have reviewed samples dating from late 2013 to early 2017 and, to date, we have identified 129 criminal cases, which equates to 211 forensic samples across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire, that may have been affected by this issue.

“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 re-tested 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.”

David Lloyd, Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire said:

“The police and CPS appear to be managing with this as well as they could have been expected to given the complexities of the forensics industry and the unexpected way in which the case has come to light. 

“I welcome the transparency shown by the police in this update, and for publishing all the relevant data. I will continue to liaise closely with the Chief Constable and others to minimise the impact of this case on victims."

Association of Police and Crime Commissioner's (APCC) Transparency and Integrity Lead, Julia Mulligan PCC said: 

“The impact of the police investigation into data manipulation at Randox Testing Services is profound.  Understandably, confidence in the criminal justice system will be rocked, but I am confident that Chief Constables and the CPS in particular are doing everything they can to deal with this unforeseeable challenge, affecting both live and historic cases. 
“I am sure PCCs will want to take steps locally to reassure themselves that local cases are being prioritised and resolved as appropriate. I will also work with partners nationally to make sure lessons are learned, and that this very serious matter continues to be managed effectively.
“The vast majority of the 10,000 cases called into question relate to drug-driving incidents, but some cases involve the most serious of crimes.  No doubt as I am in North Yorkshire, Police and Crime Commissioners across England and Wales will take steps to ensure any victims adversely affected by these developments receive the support they need.
“Both at a national and local level Police and Crime Commissioners will work with partners to understand the consequences of this police investigation, manage the fallout and ensure normal service is resumed as quickly as possible.”
APCC Public Engagement and Community Confidence Lead, Mark Burns-Williamson PCC said:
“The seriousness of the situation involving Randox Testing cannot be underestimated.
“I know all agencies, including the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC), and many others are working together to ensure we can maintain and sustain the confidence the public have in our criminal justice system.
“In my role as APCC lead on the Transforming Forensics programme I am working closely with my Chief Constable and the NPCC to ensure that we are doing everything we can to identify the most serious cases and we stand ready to support anybody potentially affected by this news.
“I know that is the case being replicated across the country with PCCs and CCs working together with partners to ensure support is available for those affected.
“Having a Criminal Justice System that is fair and transparent is paramount and we all need to collectively work together to ensure that remains the case and that we retain faith in our justice process.
“The developments in forensics has transformed the investigation of crime. Now working together we need to ensure essential forensic science work continues but with even stronger safeguards in place to ensure the integrity of data, that impacts on victims, witnesses and those accused of committing crimes, is never compromised.”

Here is a breakdown of the local figures:

Bedfordshire: Cases = 22, samples = 36

Cambridgeshire: Cases = 45, samples =66

Hertfordshire: Cases = 60, samples = 107
For further information regarding the national picture please contact the NPCC Press Office.