SmartWater is currently alerting users with respect two important Health & Safety and Compliance developments that will affect the future of forensic technology products and services.
1. Impending EU wide restriction on use of NMP solvent by forensic taggants companies:
EU regulation 2018/588 of 18th April 2018 relating to the forthcoming banning of solutions (including forensic taggants) containing concentrations higher than 0.3% of 1-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) solvent present within the ‘adhesive’ (due to the potential risk to an unborn child).
Whilst NMP is currently used by a number forensic taggants companies, please be advised that SmartWater does not use NMP in any of our forensic products. SmartWater will therefore remain fully compliant with all EU Health and Safety legislation.
2. Risks of non-compliance with the new Forensic Science Regulator’s Codes of Practice (Codes):
From October 2017, it is mandatory that law enforcement agencies disclose to the Courts if forensic evidence they are relying on in a prosecution is compliant with the Codes [click for more info], the risk being that non-compliant products or services will be ruled inadmissible.
In her annual report, the Forensic Science Regulator, Gillian Tully, said:
‘Without statutory backing for my role, a number of small and microbusinesses have chosen, for financial reasons, not to move towards gaining accreditation and those that have met the quality standards have not yet been fully rewarded through the contracting process. Those not moving towards compliance should be in no doubt that their products and services will gradually receive fewer commissions and their Practitioners will face more challenges in Court’.
This has serious implications for the security industry and Users/Buyers of forensic products and services. For example, a Buyer that contracts with a Supplier of forensic spray or marking systems that is not compliant with the Codes, could find that any resultant forensic evidence is ruled inadmissible in Court, potentially leading to miscarriages of justice or prosecutions being abandoned, eradicating the deterrent value of the technology and rendering the investment in it a waste of money.
SmartWater welcomes the drive for increased quality and we believe that we are unique in being the only forensic taggant supplier that has been independently accredited by UKAS as being compliant with the Codes. It is fundamental that suppliers of forensic products and services must be independently accredited as being compliant with the Codes, as it will help weed out irresponsible operators, who risk miscarriages of justice, wasting client money, police resources and resulting in significant reputational damage to the forensic security sector.