The investments by government into the South African Police Service (SAPS) Forensic Services are yielding returns, not only in the direct impact on service delivery as per SAPS initiatives, but also in enabling the efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal justice system.

This is according to the Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa when responding to a Parliamentary question on how many cases were brought to the SAPS’ forensic science laboratories over the past three financial years based on DNA sample analysis, trichology analysis, substance analysis as well as Integrated Ballistics Identification System, which is a testing of firearms.

The Minister stated that exhibits received and which were outstanding within the Forensic Science Laboratory in the SAPS on Monday the 17 June 2013.

“The turnaround strategy of the Division: Forensic Services focused amongst others on the increased capacity to enable the appointment forensic analysts, crime scene examiners, development and enhancement of skills and competencies in the core business of the Division, optimal utilization of resources and procurement of physical & technological resources – including optimized business processes.”

The Division: Forensic Services establishment has grown from 6098 in the 2010/2011 financial year to 7450 as at 5 August 2013. In pursuance of our commitment and obligation to bring forensic services closer to the communities, forensic services has further decentralized the forensic biology capacity to the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal based forensic science laboratories.

“It is also eminent from the statistics provided that there has been a consistent increase in the number of cases received by the Laboratories, but also an equivalent increase in the number of cases finalized. This achievement can also be attributed to better management of resources within the forensic disciplines,” added the Minister.

“In an effort to modernize the business systems, we are deploying advanced technology in key areas to ensure improved turnaround times. In July 2012, we opened a state of the art laboratory in Plattekloof as part of this improvement and capacity drive. The modern design and technologies deployed greatly impact on the improved turnaround times of cases, particularly cases handled in the Western Cape laboratory,” stated the Minister.

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