Data Driven Futures
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Cyber attack disrupts police forensics

Written by Peter Walker

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) has revealed that forensics checks were disrupted earlier this summer, after a cyber attack on one of its private sector suppliers.

While it has now approved the return of Eurofins Forensics Services, the NPCC acknowledged that it had suspended all law enforcement submissions to the company since June. This reduced national capacity and created a backlog of approximately 15,000 samples.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) is now leading a criminal investigation into the attack. No further details were given.

Eurofins’ service was resumed after working with the NPCC, NCA and the National Cyber Security Centre to put in place contingency plans that placed restrictions on samples submitted by police forces to the forensics marketplace – which has now been lifted.

Assistant chief constable Paul Gibson, the NPCC’s lead for the forensic marketplace, said: “It has taken weeks of concerted effort across government, law enforcement and the company themselves to achieve this extremely positive step forward.

“There is still significant work to do, but we have approved Eurofins’ return to the marketplace and have removed the restrictions placed on forces over the last few weeks.”

In May, the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee warned in a report that the forensic science service was under “severe pressure” and long overdue a complete overhaul.