Regulator Report

The majority of forces have not met the required standard for digital forensics according to the annual report of Forensic Regular.


Speaking in her annual report, Dr Gillian Tully revealed that few forces have met the requirements for digital forensics as laid out in the ISO 17025 standards. Although she did not name the forces, Dr Tully said that 12 legal entities have been granted accreditation for imaging of conventional hard drives, solid state devices and peripheries.

She revealed that only three legal entities have been granted accreditation for data extraction and analysis

of the same type of drives.

Only six legal entities have been granted accreditation for logical and physical capture, analysis and

processing of data from mobile phones.

Just two legal entities have be granted accreditation for processing and enhancement of CCTV.

Dr Tully’s report also revealed that out of around 20 to 30 commercial organisations who are offering forensic

services in the Criminal Justice System, only four have gained accreditation to ISO 17025 for digital forensics.

“Many such companies have made no progress towards achieving the standards and have no plans to do so

until the Regulator gains statutory powers,” said Dr Tully.

She has been a strong advocate for the Regulation to be given statutory powers in order to enforce standards

on organisations that are not compliant.

Dr Tully warned that if progress is not made by the next deadline of October 2018 then this non-compliance

would ‘inevitably cast doubt on the compliance of policing to deliver quality assured forensic science.’

Leading Forensics lecturer from the University of Kent, Robert Green, OBE also agreed with Dr Tully that standards needed to improve.

Mr Green has almost 30 years practical experience working in the field of forensic science, teaching and policing study.

He said that the UK Forensic Science Regulator and others have repeatedly warned of the dangers of underinvestment in forensic science, as well as the delivery of forensic services in the absence of quality standards.’

“Seemingly these warnings, along with the need to provide our Regulator with statutory powers, are falling on deaf ears. A major miscarriage of justice due to the use of unaccredited services could be just around the corner,” he predicted.

“The fact that some suppliers used by the police service are failing to meet basic quality standards is alarming.”

He also raised concern about the amount of forensic testing carried out with police laboratories in the absence of any accreditation.

“There have been a number of recommendations that all police laboratories should achieve and maintain quality accreditation for all forensic testing services. Despite this, much of this accreditation has yet to come to fruition.”

Gillian Tully

Forensic Regulator