Forensic Science Experts for Court
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About Us

Managing Director: Alan Baker BSc CChem MRSC MEWI

Alan Baker became a Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (MRSC) and a Chartered Chemist (CChem) in 1994. In addition, he is also on the UK Register of Expert Witnesses, a member of The Expert Witness Institute and an associate member of the Forensic Science Society.

When the opportunity arose in 2004 to buy Bericon, one of the UK’s oldest forensic science consultancies, Alan grabbed the chance with both hands.  Since then, he has quadrupled the company’s annual caseload and has been invited to appear on Sky News, CNN, ITN, BBC Radio, Talk radio and Legal TV when they’ve sought an expert opinion on high-profile cases that have hinged on forensic examination, DNA testing, handwriting comparison – areas that he and the team of experst have become authorities on over the last 40 years.

Graduating  in 1988 with a First Class Honours degree in Applied Chemistry, Alan later took up employment with a firm of scientific consultants in Derby, where he began working as a forensic scientist in 1990.

He subsequently helped that business to develop into one of the leading independent forensic laboratories in the UK and was promoted to Divisional Manager in 1997, whereupon he took responsibility for all forensic and drugs testing work at the company.

His role as a forensic scientist has incorporated both prosecution and defence investigations for police forces and solicitor practices across the UK, giving evidence in numerous Magistrates’ courts and the Crown Court, utilising his formal Bond Solon Courtroom Skills qualifications and training, combined with the invaluable experience gained from over 6,000 forensic investigations.

In addition to Alan’s areas of specialisation, other expert support is provided by 20 consultants and organisations based across the UK.

The Forensic Process – Then and Now

Historical background: The provision of expert forensic science services has significantly changed over the last decade compared to the traditional setup. In the past, the Home Office Forensic Science Service was the primary provider of forensic services, operating regionally and offering a comprehensive range of services to police forces.

Introduction of Competition: In the 1990s, competition entered the market, leading to the emergence of smaller forensic organizations. These smaller entities often specialised in specific areas of forensic work, such as drugs testing and document examination, challenging the dominance of the Home Office Forensic Science Service.

Increased Specialisation: The growing specialisation within the field of forensics means that police forces now source their forensic services from multiple laboratories. This specialisation allows for more focused analysis in specific areas of interest but often at the expense of undertaking a broad range of examinations and tests.

Budgetary Constraints: Police forces have become more budget-conscious, leading to a shift away from the practice of analysing all samples and items in an investigation. Instead, forensic scientists are often asked to focus on specific, isolated aspects of a case.

Role of Bericon: Bericon is a forensic services provider that aims to address the challenges of the legal system, such as court deadlines and late submission of evidence. We ensure a speedy response to any enquiry and flexibility to meet clients’ needs.

Importance of Reviewing the Forensic Process: The significance of reviewing the entire forensic investigation process cannot be over-emphasized and should include assessment of the collection of evidence, the handling and packaging of samples, the selection of items submitted to the laboratory, and, crucially, the interpretation of scientific evidence.

Continuity and Contamination: The quality and reliability of forensic samples depend on proper collection and packaging. Issues related to the continuity and contamination of items are critical concerns for both forensic scientists and legal clients.

Assessment of Costs: Police forces are increasingly focused on assessing the costs of investigations. This cost-driven approach can impact the decision to pursue a particular line of inquiry or evidence collection.

Public Perception: Forensic science often captures the public’s imagination and is seen as crucial for successful prosecutions. However, the changing nature of police investigations makes it more important than ever to scrutinise how and why evidence is accumulated and how it is presented in court.

The evolving landscape of forensic science services and the challenges faced by both forensic scientists and the legal system in ensuring the accuracy and reliability of evidence in criminal cases means that expert and independent scrutiny of scientific evidence has never been more important  than in 2023.

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