Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has hailed the Dundee forensic science laboratory as one of the best in the world.
Speaking during a visit to the site at West Victoria Dock, he said: “Forensic services are a crucial part of the fight against crime in Scotland as criminal investigation becomes ever-more sophisticated.
“This state-of-the-art laboratory is one of the best in the world and provides an excellent facility for Scottish Police Authority staff to carry out investigations and analysis to the very highest standard.”
The Dundee lab, where almost 100 forensic experts are based, is essential to the delivery of justice across Scotland, he added.
The justice secretary, who earlier visited Dundee Sheriff Court, was welcomed by Tom Nelson, director of the forensic service.
The laboratory was Scotland’s first purpose-built forensic science laboratory in almost 15 years, and it had to modernise to meet the national needs of Scottish policing and procurator fiscals.
“Scottish policing wanted greater consistency and resilience to provide fast results in day-to-day volume crimes such as house breaking and car crime, as well as expert support on less common serious and violent crime,” Mr Nelson said.
Dundee’s new High Volume Processing Unit, which dedicated laboratory resources to volume crime cases, has produced significant results.
Now 95% of DNA samples are being processed in less than 20 days, up from 80% in 2012. The director said this provides quicker intelligence results for the police in their investigation of crimes that affect the majority of the public.
He continued: “This is an exciting time for Forensic Services in Scotland.
“We are investing almost £6 million on new equipment that will be used to improve our service delivery and resilience and will put us at the cutting edge of forensic science in the UK.”
He said every scene examiner in Scotland will now have a rugged toughbook to record key information at an examination site, which can then be viewed by the scientists back in the lab.
“By maximising the benefits of this new technology we can provide rapid results to our customers, increasing their potential of identifying the perpetrator of a crime quicker.”