NI: New £13.9m forensic laboratory opens in Belfast

Northern Ireland's Justice Minister David Ford
Northern Ireland’s Justice Minister David Ford

A new £13.9 million forensic laboratory has been formally opened in Belfast by Northern Ireland’s Justice Minister David Ford.

The Locard Building at Seapark, named after Edmond Locard, the father of forensic science, provides state of the art facilities to deliver high quality forensic science services to the criminal justice system.

Mr Ford said: “When I became Minister of Justice in April 2010 I made it a priority to ensure that Northern Ireland had the best and most modern facilities to move with advances and keep us at the forefront of forensic science. Today is the culmination of a number of years work in developing and designing this laboratory.

“My Department has invested £13.9 million in this state of the art facility, which is, quite rightly, recognised nationally and internationally as one of the best. This building provides forensic facilities which set the standard for the avoidance of contamination; a crucial element of “trace” forensic evidence, where minute levels of substances and materials are recovered, identified and interpreted. This is particularly important for today’s ultra-sensitive forensic techniques.

“The laboratory has been built to ensure optimum throughput and efficiency. Together with a new IT system which will come on line later this year, productivity will increase and turnaround times will improve, ultimately speeding up the time it takes to bring cases to court, and supporting my policy of Faster, Fairer Justice.”

Stan Brown, chief executive of Forensic Science Northern Ireland (FSNI), praised the building’s environmental performance.

He said: “The building meets the very latest in sustainability and renewal standards, utilising rainwater harvesting, solar power and a combined heat and power unit for energy, heat capture and air management functions.

“Even the carpark is environmentally friendly, utilising porous tarmac and a sustainable urban drainage system that means there is no need for drains or underground pipes.”

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