A forensic Science is the application of science to the criminal and civil laws that are enforced by police agencies in a criminal justice system. It is about the presentation of scientific information in a court of law with legal powers.
Forensic science is basically required to aid an investigation by using factual, unbiased, objective scientific evidence to determine whether a crime has been committed, who was responsible for this crime and whether there is enough evidence to support a prosecution. This evidence is essential in criminal investigations as the responsibility in a court lies with the prosecution to prove guilt, not the defense to prove innocence.
Forensic science is a relatively new area for study and has been highlighted and popularized by the media and the present scenario of terrorism in Pakistan.
Advancements in forensic science are revolutionizing criminal justice system. From collection of evidence at crime scenes to presentation of analyzed results in courtrooms, forensic technology has improved the quality and accuracy of criminal investigations. Forensic techniques include latent fingerprint examination, controlled substance identification and DNA analysis. Investigators who use these tools to evaluate evidence can solve cases that otherwise would have remained mysteries. The success of forensic analysis has prompted lawmakers to expand existing state policies. Examples of emerging forensic applications include expansion of DNA databases, dynamic property crimes investigation and creation of cold case units.
Forensics’ potential benefits for the criminal justice system currently are hampered by practical concerns about lab capacity, insufficient funding and a scarcity of appropriately trained personnel.
It is true that controlling terrorism is a serious issue but in present obsolete arrangements and resources of security and intelligence we see failures visible every day. Nation is also asking questions that why the claims of the Interior Minister seem hollow and without any strength when Government is seen extremely helpless and without any string in their hands to find a positive solution of these crisis.
Today it is quite difficult to control terrorism through human resources alone. Technological advancement has given an edge to western nations who have achieved a great success in controlling terrorism after 9/11, We need to be realistic in thinking about it. It is true that the prime responsibility of the miseries of Pakistani nation comes on the shoulder of USA which dragged Pakistan into an unwanted war against Osama Bin Ladin’s Al Qaeda and Taliban, but being a developed nation and super power too America made all necessary arrangements to prevent US homeland from seeing any sort of terrorist attack after 9/11. But Pakistan, due to lack of technology and due the absence of any coordinated and coordinated intelligence system paid heavy price and bearing the loss every day and night with no hope of curbing this assault of terrorists in the near future.
Today a stiff plan is needed and crash program should be initiated to revamp the whole internal security system in Pakistan. A combination of human resources and modern technology supported by effective legislation can together put a serious impact and bring peace to the nation. In presence of a truly nonporous and fool proof security system can ensure that no further terrorist attacks would be seen on our soil. We must understand that it is the responsibility of our own Government to take this matter seriously otherwise the world is finding too easy to blame Pakistan and call it a hub of global terrorism. The effects of our failures are enormous when we lost all foreign investment, sporting events and lot more.
Following technologies must be overlooked in order to bring peace and order in our country. I believe that if a single step is taken towards it, rest of the steps will be aided by ALLAH ALMIGHTY HIMSELF.
FORENSIC DNA TECHNOLOGIES:
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Laboratory’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) is computer software that allows forensic laboratories at the national, state and local levels to compare DNA samples. CODIS enables state and local laboratories to use the database in accordance with state and local laws. CODIS compares a newly secured sample of forensic evidence against two distinct indexes. The first, the convicted offender index, contains DNA profiles of people who have been convicted of crimes. The second, the forensic index, contains DNA profiles obtained from crime scene evidence, such as semen, saliva or blood. CODIS computer software searches these indexes to link new samples to those already loaded in the database.A match to the new sample is referred to as a “hit.”These include samples that successfully match crime scenes to offenders, offenders to crime scenes.
Forensic technology and properly preserved evidence also are used to investigate cold cases—those cases that remain unsolved and have been shelved after all leads have been exhausted. Advances in forensic technology, such as the ability to test evidence once considered insufficient for analysis, allows some cases to be reopened. Most big city police departments have units that are devoted to unsolved homicides; they boast a growing list of success stories, for example, the police department put an offender behind bars in 2007 after reanalyzing evidence from a 2003 sexual assault. Such offenders would remain free if not for cold case investigations.
Using DNA to investigate property crimes is another emerging area of forensic science; research supports its value. According to the FBI, property crimes cost Americans an estimated $17.6 billion in 2007. Those who commit property crimes often are serial offenders who also commit more serious crimes.
Compared to traditional fingerprint evidence, DNA evidence more often leads to suspects and results in more arrests. These findings suggest that usingDNA evidence to solve property crimes is a viable way to make communities safer.
IDENTIFICATION OF MISSING OR UNIDENTIFIED PERSONS:
The missing persons problem is one that cannot be ignored. Linking missing persons to human remains provides closure for the friends and families of the victims. DNA analysis helps technicians catalogue unidentified human remains and link them to missing persons. By using residual DNA on toothbrushes and cigarette butts and collecting samples from familial DNA donors, the DNA of those reported missing can be uploaded into the CODIS missing persons database.
BUILDING FORENSIC SCIENSE CAPACITIES TO FIGHT CRIME:
To help fight crime with technical means, there has been an increasing need for enhanced Education in forensic awareness and forensic science. The project “Developing Education, Skills and Capacity in Forensic Awareness and Forensic Science” aims to address this issue and to improve the detection of crime, enhancing the conviction rate.To this end, the project will build educational and training capacities in forensic awareness and forensic science. The ultimate goal is to provide more knowledgeable and better skilled academic communities and public workforces, and put in place more effective techniques and processes that will have a positive impact upon crime detection and resolution and, ultimately, prevention.
DEVELOPING CENTERS OF EXCELLENCE:
THIS can facilitate the sharing of learning and provide a forum for interaction. These will include the police and law enforcement agencies, forensic laboratories and legal systems. They can have the opportunity to learn from the project partners and to contribute to discussions.
Furthermore, the physical capacity to undertake forensic learning and analysis should be expanded by the purchase of strategically targeted equipment that can provide both a learning and research resource.
STAFF AND CURRICULLA DEVELOPMENT:
Teaching staff can upgrade and enhance their forensic science qualifications in a number of ways. Regular meetings involving staff development workshops focusing on specific knowledge and skills can bring fruitful results.
FORENSIC MANAGEMENT TEAM:
It is recommended that a forensic management team (FMT) be established before any forensic analysis is performed. The FMT should contain laboratory staff with training in criminology, and also the appropriate law enforcement and State officials. The participants in the FMT should be confident especially with regard to the conditions covering any confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement
CONFIDENCE IN CONCLUSIONS:
ANALYTICAL DATA QUALITY OBJECTIVES
Because the results of forensic investigation could be used as evidence in a criminal prosecution, or can affect international estimates of proliferation and threats of terrorism, it is essential that the data and their interpretation be credible. Adherence to chain of custody procedures should ensure that the analytical results correspond to evidence collected at the incidence site. Proper quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) procedures within forensics laboratory will ensure confidence in the analytical data.
PRECISION AND ACCURACY
As required by good analysis protocol, all analytical results should state the precision of the measurement and any potential sources of error not reflected in the precision. In the absence of bias, the precision of the measurement can place bounds on which sources and processes could produce material with the given signature. Although increasing the precision of a given measurement could narrow the field of potential sources or processes that produced the material.
As it is often more efficient to perform additional measurements using independent techniques (techniques that verify the presence or absence of different signatures than those verified by the initial technique).
NUCLEAR FORENSICS LABORATORY:
The evidence should be sent for analysis to a nuclear forensics laboratory equipped to receive and process such samples. It may be possible to send the traditional forensic evidence to a police crime laboratory and the nuclear forensic evidence to a nuclear analysis laboratory. However, it is highly likely that the two types of evidence are mixed, so that the traditional forensic evidence is contaminated with radioactive material and the radioactive material contains some forensic evidence. Therefore, the receiving nuclear forensics laboratory should be able to handle radioactive material and carefully separate the traditional forensic evidence from the radioactive material for later analysis by experts in each discipline. Consequently, it is advisable to send the sample to a laboratory skilled in nuclear forensic analysis that combines the capabilities of the crime laboratory and the nuclear forensics laboratory.
Nuclear forensics laboratories should be outfitted and staffed to handle contaminated evidence and to accommodate the requirements of both the traditional forensic and nuclear analyses. The nuclear forensics laboratory needs to be appropriately licensed to receive the evidence being shipped. The receiving facility needs to be able to handle large amounts of nuclear material, yet still be able to analyse trace level of the material constituents and environmental types of material. Consequently, the nuclear forensics laboratory has to be free from fixed and dispersible background contamination to ensure that there is no chance of cross-contamination between samples.
Forensic Science is broadly divided into three parts.Medical , laboratory and field services. But these are not strictly exclusive and may overlap whenever there arises a need to do so. Also ,depending upon the nature and type of the crime and evidence collected, many forensic disciplines could be involved at the same time in detection of the crime. Field sciences generally include crime scene investigation of area like fire and explosion scene and secret drug laboratories. Medical services deal with pathology, psychiatry, Psychology, forensic medicine and dentistry. Laboratory services include chemistry, biology, toxicology, ballistics, fingerprints and marks and impressions.
It is felt that clinical scientists make better scientists as the vast range of skills that are acquired and developed in their laboratories , easily get transferred to a forensic science laboratory.
Training in Forensic Science and criminology is available both through universities and specialised institutes at postgraduate level. Graduates in Science (preferably Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Zoology, Biochemistry or Applied Sciences) are required for the M.Sc. and certificate courses. Graduation in Law (LL.B) is a must for diploma in Criminology and Criminal Administration. Master’s degree in Psychology/ Social Work is essential if you want to get a Diploma in Guidance and Counselling. Courses are also available in many areas related to Forensic Science including chemistry, biology, serology, ballistics, toxicology, documentation and photography.
The various avenues available in a typical Forensic Science Laboratory are as follows:Medical Examiner: The applicants for this post must have a medical degree. The medical examiner gets the highest pay. One is required to handle dead bodies and their dissection. The forensic odontologist (related to dentistry) also requires a medical degree. These experts generally work as consultants.