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Lancashire's forensic science laboratory to close
LANCASHIRE police will have to use forensic science services in Yorkshire after the closure of the county's centre was confirmed.
The Forensic Science Service said its Washington Hall base in Euxton, will close in March 2011 with the loss of 200 jobs.
It means the closest forensic facilities will be in Wetherby, West Yorkshire, around 80 miles away..
Mick Gradwell, a retired detective superintendent who until last year headed East Lancashire’s major investigation team, said he felt the loss of local services would have an effect on the force.
He said: “Generations of detectives went to Euxton during their training and went on to develop relationships with the scientists.
“I visited the centre during numerous investigations. It was like a one-stop shop, you could see the specialists on fire damage and at the same time talk to people analysing blood samples on the same case.
“The forensic centre is close by for officers in Lancashire and is highly valued by detectives.
“The last time I was there was for the Caneze Riaz case when she and her four daughters were murdered in a deliberate house fire in Accrington.
“We needed petrol cans analysing quickly, soon after the start of the investigation.”
Under the cuts, there will be just four centres nationally.
Prospect, the union representing FSS staff, said the changes would 'decimate' the ability of the service to analyse current levels of criminal evidence and leave the region without public sector forensic cover.
FSS branch secretary Helen Kenny, said: “The cuts are driven by claims that the workload has diminished, which we don’t accept, no-one has seen the crime rate go down.”
Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle said when the closure was announced that 'criminal cases would be compromised' by the withdrawal of FFS services from the region.
A spokesman for Lancashire police said they were in discussions with the FSS on future provision of services but declined to comment further on the closure.