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Thursday 21 November 2019
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New forensic centre coming to Mt Hope

Forensic Science Centre in St James -
Forensic Science Centre in St James -

ACTING director of the Forensic Science Centre (FSC) said the new centre would be six times the size of the current centre in St James.

He was speaking on Tuesday as the Special Select Committee on The Evidence (Amendment) Bill met with officials of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Forensic Science Centre, National Forensic DNA Databank at the Parliament building, Port of Spain.

Committee member Anthony Vieira said with the increase in judges and courts whether the centre can cope with the anticipated increase demands.

Committee member and Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi reported that a memorandum of understanding (MOU) had been approved between TT and India for forensics, and a similar MOU with China, and the location of the centre at the Mt Hope location was set to go except for clearing the land which was currently under litigation.

He also reported that he visited Jamaica for the expansion of forensic facilities.

“So from a Government perspective there is an aggressive simultaneous expansion like we are trying in every other area to make sure we operationalize the system.”

He said the new centre was not enough to manage the pace of work at the centre at present “but we recognise what is required and there is an aggressive anxiety to get it done.”

Vieira asked what was Sankar’s priority list of needs and he replied that the new centre is projected to be six times the size of the St James centre at 6,000 square feet.

He added, however, that the centre was not waiting on the new location but had training project with 12 police officers on ballistics and for the biological section all positions had been filled.

“We are not awaiting the new forensic science centre but we are putting in measures to attack the backlog head on.”

Committee member Saddam Hosein noted there had often been complaints about the resources at the centre and asked what was the average time for a ballistic report.

Sankar replied that a number of stakeholders make representations for ballistic reports including the Police Complaints Authority, the court via a summons to the police, and in police management cases.

He said there is a backlog of ballistic reports but the centre prioritised based on needs and cases that would request fast tracking, such as: those before the court, witness in custody or a police shooting involving a number of firearms being taken out of service. Sankar explained processing time for a ballistic report would vary according to the number of exhibits and the analysis required.

“It may take four hours, it may take days.”

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