The Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) has today announced that the Metropolitan Police will be subject to an urgent review, following the alleged mishandling of 33 cases by the laboratory department.
A statement from the Met said: "An internal review has found that 33 separate criminal investigations have been affected. 21 of these cases relate to investigations into rapes and other sexual assaults; the remaining 12 are investigations into violence, burglary and drugs offences. The cases relate to crimes whereby items were submitted for forensic examination between 2012 and 2017.
"We are urgently conducting a review to understand whether there is any risk to the criminal justice process and to take remedial action where necessary.
"All victims in the affected cases have been contacted, where it has been deemed appropriate to do so.
"In the case of the investigations into rape and sexual assaults, victims have been contacted by a Sexual Offences Investigative Techniques officer."
This is not the first time a police force has come under fire for the mishandling of forensic results. In fact, earlier this year, Randox Testing Services, who have been routinely instructed by many forces across the country confirmed that there had been numerous errors made on forensic samples that they had handled. This has led to the recent quashing of many convictions for those drivers who were unlawfully convicted of being over the prescribed limit.
Stephensons Solicitors LLP are currently acting on behalf of clients seeking financial compensation against Randox Testing services.
Adam Quick, solicitor at Stephensons Solicitors LLP who is acting for many of these clients says ‘This is not at all surprising. It was only a matter of time before one of the major police forces were criticised for the way in which forensic samples have been handled.
It must not be forgotten that such samples are often the sole reason why a person may be convicted. It is not clear at this stage whether any of those 33 samples lead to a conviction or not. If so, then I hope those individuals seek to have their convictions overturned and also, seek financial redress for the distress this has inevitably caused them’.
It is important to obtain legal advice on these issues from a firm that has experience in dealing with this type of case. Stephensons Solicitors LLP, have many years of experience in pursuing these matters. It is important to seek advice as soon as possible because time limits apply to taking court action and with delays, there is a greater risk that documents that may help in a claim may be lost.
If you would like us to consider your case, then please contact us on 0175 321 6399. We will endeavour to get back to you as quickly as possible.