New £6m toxicology lab to offer improved testing facilities

The purpose-built facility will include testing facilities for police and prosecutors.

New £6m toxicology lab to offer improved testing facilities iStock

A new £6m forensics laboratory where experts will be able to test for substances including drugs and alcohol is to be established.

The purpose-built facility will include testing facilities for police and prosecutors, run by the Scottish Police Authority Forensic Services (SPA FS).

It will provide vital sample testing to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS).

The funding will enable the transition of post mortem toxicology forensic services from the University of Glasgow to the SPA FS.

Highly specialist staff will transfer over to the new unit when it opens next year, securing their skills in this specialist area.

Justice secretary Keith Brown said the investment would enable “significant operational efficiencies” to be delivered.

“I welcome this investment to provide a new state-of-the-art facility which will allow essential post mortem toxicology services to continue, ensuring that the COPFS continues to meet its obligations to investigate all sudden, unexplained deaths,” said Brown.

“This investment also enables significant operational efficiencies to be delivered with the new service benefitting from specialist scientific instruments and supplies in a purpose built laboratory.”

Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain QC said: “This change secures the future of a service that is vital for the investigation of unexplained deaths.

“I would like to thank the University of Glasgow for their hard work over the years, and I am delighted that their expert staff will be retained in the transition.”

SPA director of forensic services Tom Nelson said: “We welcome this investment by the Scottish Government to support the running of the Post Mortem Toxicology Service by SPA Forensic Services from December 2022.

“This additional service will be delivered from a new laboratory with the highly-skilled staff currently working at the University of Glasgow supported by colleagues in Forensic Services SPA.

“SPA Forensic Services will work with key partners to deliver an accredited Post Mortem Toxicology Service which will meet the needs of the people of Scotland.”