HRA COMMISSION INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF COUNTER ANALYSIS
Published: Tuesday 17 Oct 2006
The HRA has commissioned an Independent Review of its counter analysis procedures. This review has been instigated following two high profile cases of the ‘B’ Sample returning a negative result within the last 18 months.
The Review will be carried out by Dr Janet Thompson, formerly Chief Executive of the Forensic Science Service, a Government owned company that provides forensic science services to police forces in England and Wales. With around 2600 staff, the FSS is a recognised world leader in research into new scientific techniques and quality forensic processes. Their research facility is responsible for many significant forensic science breakthroughs and pioneered the use of DNA profiling which led to the establishment of the world’s first national criminal intelligence DNA database in April 1995.
The review will look at the counter analysis of every post race sample taken from horses between 2003 and 2006. It will then consider and comment on the purpose of counter analysis, consider whether counter analysis should be mandatory for all samples, review the current counter analysis procedures and make recommendations on how to improve the current system.
John Bridgeman, Chairman of the HRA, explained the reasons for instigating the review:
“Our counter analysis procedures have come in for some scathing criticism during my tenure as Chairman of the HRA and I think the time has come to get someone to undertake a thorough, independent review of our procedures and come up with recommendations on how to improve the system. Given her background I think Dr Thompson is the ideal person to undertake this task.
“Dr Thompson aims to have at least an interim report ready to give to the HRA Board in December this year. It is no secret that I am an advocator of transparency and accountability and accordingly Dr Thompson will also consider and recommend whether to make public the results of her enquiry.”
17th October 2005
NOTES FOR EDITORS
1. There have been 43 counter analysed samples return as positive since 2003. Three samples have been returned negative on counter analysis in this time.
2. Dr Janet Thompson CB trained as a physicist with a BSc from the University of Brighton and a D. Phil from Oxford. Following scientific research at Oxford and Surrey universities and in industry, she worked in Government. Initially this was in operational research as Head of Research on Consumer Safety. She then worked on policy issues in the criminal justice area. She moved on to be Head of Home Office Emergency Planning where she was responsible for the co-ordination of civil planning and chaired a NATO Committee on Civil Emergency Planning. After a short period as Head of Prison Management Services at the Home Office, Dr Thompson was appointed Chief Executive of the Forensic Science Service in 1988, a Government Agency, and remained in post until 2001.
Whilst Chief Executive of the FSS, she was responsible for creating a national organisation from seven regional laboratories, which operated commercially, and the development and implementation of the world’s first national DNA database for criminal investigation. She was also Chairmen of the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes. Since 2001 she has been a non-executive director, Deputy Chairman of SEMTA (Science, Engineering, Manufacturing Technologies Alliance) and reviewed a number of Home Office projects. She is a school governor.