The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) has revealed that forensics checks have been disrupted after a cyber attack on one of the main private sector suppliers of the service.
It has now approved the return of Eurofins Forensics Services to the marketplace, but acknowledged that it had suspended all law enforcement submissions to the company since June.
This reduced the national capacity and created a backlog of approximately 15,000 samples across the country, said the NPCC.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) is currently leading a criminal investigation into the cyber attack, although the NPCC has declined to provide an update on its progress citing the complexity of the enquiries.
Eurofins’ service has been resumed after working with the council, NCA and the National Cyber Security Centre. A contingency plan that placed caps and restrictions on samples submitted by place forces to the forensics marketplace has now been lifted.
Weeks of effort
Assistant Chief Constable Paul Gibson, NPCC lead for the forensic marketplace, said: “It has taken weeks of concerted effort across government, law enforcement and the company themselves to achieve this extremely positive step forward.
“There is still significant work to do, but we have approved Eurofins’ return to the marketplace and have removed the restrictions placed on forces over the last few weeks.”
In May the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee warned in a report that the forensic science service was under severe pressure and in need of a complete overhaul.
Image from NPCC