Forensic backlog a major crisis - statement by UDM Spokesperson on Finance (5 March 2010)

The UDM is shocked by the revelations of the huge backlogs at the countrys forensic laboratories.

It is now being investigated whether some of these samples (as old as 6 years!) are even still in a condition to be accurately analysed and used as evidence.

The backlogs run into the tens of thousands. These represent a vast number of serious, often brutally violent cases which may not be successfully prosecuted due to the lack of this crucial evidence. Murderers, rapists and their ilk may be let off scot-free.

The Police and the Department of Health who are responsible for the various laboratories are guilty of severe negligence. This problem is directly related to a long-known staff shortage. The lack of political will to address this crisis reveals an uncaring attitude among certain members of Government about the levels of crime in the country.

It is a shame that so much police resources can be immediately available to arrest, detain and investigate a jogger who gestures at a blue-light convoy, but when it comes to the fight against real criminals vital evidence is allowed to rot in storage without being analysed and brought before a court of law.