Here’s an interesting article from The Guardian about the rise in use of DNA analysis to solve crimes and how LGC (headquartered in Teddington) works with the police & crime enforcement agencies and increasingly private sector companies to provide this service.
LGC Forensics has helped solve some high-profile police cases such as the murder of Damilola Tayor, Rachel Nickell, Chantel Taylor, the recent Colette Aram case as well as exonerating the Cardiff Three. The DNA database to compare samples to is growing each year and contains 5 million individuals details – you don’t have to be convicted of a crime to have your DNA sampled, just arrested.
Other notable applications of DNA matching by LGC have been helping identifying victims of the 2005 London Underground bombings and finally confirming the identities of WWI soldiers bodies from pits in Fromelles, northern France so that their bodies can be reburied and visited in the future.
Emma Westacott (head of DNA operations) is keen to point out that their work is quite different to what you see on TV in shows such as CSI. Much of their work involves painstaking removal of tissue from contaminated objects from crime-scenes (they call this process ‘item examination’) with cross-referencing and elimination of police and LGC workers DNA.