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Hair and textiles go under the microscope at gathering of forensic science specialists

16th June 2015

Northumbria University is hosting a delegation of leading forensic science experts specialising in hair and textiles evidence at an international gathering in Newcastle.

The European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI) is recognised globally as a pre-eminent voice in forensic science, working to improve the quality, delivery and development of forensic science within Europe.

50 members of ENFSI’s European Textile and Hair group flew into the UK for their annual meeting which is being held at the University for the first time.  Members of this expert group work to facilitate knowledge exchange, research and best practice in the forensic examination of fibres and textiles which are often crucial in solving serious criminal cases. It is one of 17 expert groups within ENFSI specialising in areas ranging from handwriting and fingerprints through to paint and glass, firearms and forensic speech and audio analysis.

The delegation includes internationally-renowned experts from state and regional forensic science institutes throughout Europe, as well as specially-invited representatives from the state laboratories of Russia and Singapore and the FBI in the USA.

Northumbria’s forensic science courses are taught by former practitioners who have worked on high-profile cases including the Stephen Lawrence, Joanna Yeates and PC Ian Broadhurst murders, as well as the Ipswich serial killer case in which five women were murdered over a ten-day period in 2006.

Ray Palmer, a Senior Lecturer in Forensic Science, previously worked for the Forensic Science Service where he was nationally responsible for the forensic examination of hair and textiles. As a member of the steering committee of this working group, he helped to arrange for the group to meet in Newcastle.

Ray said: “We are honoured to be hosting this year’s meeting at Northumbria University.  The term ‘forensic science’ encompasses a broad range of forensic disciplines, each with its own set of technologies and practices. 

“This group is a major world player in ensuring the development of the science and standards of forensic hair and textile examinations, which have been crucial in securing convictions in crimes of national concern here in the UK.”

Northumbria University is an active contributor to ENFSI, as well as other leading organisations including the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Forensic Science Education Group.

For more information on forensic science courses at Northumbria, click here or book a place at our Postgradaute Open Day on Wednesday 11th November, 12-6pm.

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