Minister Helena Dalli visits the Netherlands Forensic Institute

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Minister Helena Dalli visits the Netherlands Forensic InstituteMinister for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties Dr Helena Dalli visited the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) in preparation for the launch of the Malta Laboratories Network

This visit forms an integral part in the work of the Ministry of Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties to put into action the launch of the Malta Laboratories Network as announced in the 2016 budget following the decision by government to integrate its laboratories. This decision ensures the separation of the forensic laboratory work and evidence from police jurisdiction.

This separation of forensic work from the police is of prime importance in order to abide by the Constitutional Court decision whereby it was decreed that forensic work should be done independently of the police function.

Accompanied by Professor Anthony Serracino Inglott, Chairperson of the Malta Laboratories Network Steering Committee and Permanent Secretary Joseph Camilleri, Minister Dalli met with top officials of the Netherlands Forensic Institute whereby a possible Memorandum of Understanding between the Malta Laboratories Network-Forensic Laboratory and the NFI was discussed. Minister Dalli and NFI also discussed the European Forensic Science Area 2020 and the organisation of study visits to NFI on Gunshot Residue, DNA and Toxicology.

They discussed the initiative taken by the Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties to collaborate with the Malta Police Force and help in the training of the Malta Police Scene of Crime Officers.

Next June, experts from the NFI will be training 14 crime scene investigators in Malta. The training programme will last five weeks and will be given by experts from the Mobile Forensics Team of the NFI. The programme has been tailored to the needs of forensic sciences in Malta and includes forensic awareness, photography, crime scene investigation, bloodstain pattern analysis, and reporting. Assistance in the accreditation of DNA, gunshot residue examination and toxicology laboratories in Malta was also planned.

The Netherlands Forensic Institute is one of the world's leading forensic laboratories. Sophisticated laboratory analyses for actual and preventive criminal cases are carried out at The Hague state-of-the art building. Mobile Forensics Teams from the NFI may also provide advice and support to other several countries during the investigation of traces and the securing of evidence in criminal cases.

The upgrading of forensic science in Malta is being carried out in a holistic manner as recommended by the NFI and in light of Malta's obligations with the establishment of European Forensic Science Area (EFSA) in 2020.

Minister Dalli toured the NFI facility including the Toxicology, the DNA and the Gunshot Residue laboratories.

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