Cross-contamination is a live issue across forensic investigations.

‘Ground-breaking’ technology could soon be used by all sexual assault referral centres amid concerns that DNA is still being left behind.

Numerous forces including the Metropolitan Police Service and the MoD teamed up with a forensic company to express their need to improve the quality of products used to aid forensic investigations.

Following their feedback, the SARCS-LED was created by company Tech Long Industry Ltd.

The more powerful light source has proven to be more effective than current LEDs, highlighting more human biological traces at the scene of a sexual assault, therefore improving the chances of a prosecution.

SARCs could also see the benefits of using the innovative LED torch.

Currently, SARCs carry out ‘environmental’ cleans after each examination and deep clean every month/quarter depending on the service providers.

In addition, they will conduct an ATP spot test, which is essentially a random testing of areas, which are then sent away for testing at the Lab.

All cleaning and testing conducted is effectively carried out ‘blind’, as staff cannot see microscopic traces of semen, saliva, sweat that may have been secreted around the facility.

The kit was put to the test and was demonstrated to professionals in an examination room.

It revealed that even after the clean, handprints were still on the wall and stains were on the examination seat.

Cross-contamination is an issue across forensic investigations and discussions are ongoing about how effective forensic and environmental cleans are.

However, the new equipment will mean staff can ‘see’ forensic traces and carry out targeted forensic cleans as they go, ensuring no traces are left and avoiding cross contamination issues.

SARCS-LED will be in trialled in medical centres across the country from January in conjunction with Professor Cassella at Staffordshire University.

The trials will demonstrate the light’s ability to insure high-quality cleans at SARCs after examinations to help prevent the cross-contamination of DNA and provide a better service to victims.

Stephen Murphy, Head of UK and International Business Development at Tech Long Industry Ltd, said: “SARCS-LED will identify higher rates of human biological traces at sexual assault crime scenes and raise the quality assurance standards for cleaning at SARCs.

“This will raise the standard of the service provided to victims of sexual assault across the support, medical and investigation process.”

He added: “The long term strategy has been to understand what the market needs via feedback and collaboration, and then apply our technical expertise. This has enabled us to present ground-breaking products, which will improve the quality of forensic investigations.”

By Sophie Garrod

Police Oracle

 

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