RTS – the whistle-blower
- RTS became a whistle-blower when it uncovered evidence of data manipulation in its laboratory and immediately alerted the authorities
- Samples themselves were not affected
- RTS was founded in 2014 and employed staff from the Forensic Science Service and elsewhere in the industry
- Industry practices were introduced into RTS and were accredited by the UK’s accreditation authority UKAS
- RTS is supporting the police investigation into the issue and as part of that is managing and financing the retesting process at external laboratories
- Initial results from re-testing have had no impact on crime cases such as homicide, sexual offences or violence
- Less than 10% of re-tests resulted in drug driving cases being discontinued
- A Parliamentary written statement today highlights how the same manipulation may also have occurred at Trimega Laboratories Ltd., which may affect child protection and family court cases.
- RTS is well-advanced in developing a revolutionary fool-proof testing system based around multiple technological advances by RTS
- RTS is not connected to Trimega Laboratories. Trimega went into administration in early 2014. After this date, RTS purchased pieces of laboratory equipment from the administrators KPMG and moved into the premises. RTS did not take over Trimega business.
In early 2017, the forensic testing company RTS became a whistle-blower when it exposed evidence of alleged data manipulation. Almost one year on, it remains committed to ensuring the police investigation will succeed in bringing those responsible to justice and protecting the criminal justice system.
When RTS was founded in 2014 it employed staff from the former Forensic Sciences Service and elsewhere in the industry. It discovered, through an internal investigation, evidence of alleged improper practice and brought it to an end by immediately alerting the authorities. A Parliamentary written statement has today highlighted how the same manipulation may have occurred – but crucially went unreported – in a now-defunct laboratory called Trimega Laboratories Ltd, between 2010 and 2014.
The alleged manipulation in RTS involved changing data in testing methods which had been accredited by the UK agency UKAS. The actual samples were not affected which has enabled re-testing, and there is no evidence to suggest that the core purpose of the manipulation was intended to create positive or negative results in any specific tests.
Throughout the ten-month investigation, RTS has worked alongside the police and appropriate authorities to help resolve the issue. It is currently managing the process and covering the costs of re-testing samples at appropriately accredited external laboratories.
Initial re-testing results have had no impact on crime cases such as homicide, sexual offences or violence. Less than 10% of re-tests resulted in drug driving cases being discontinued. The vast majority of these have been because of results consistent with degradation of the original sample resulting in a lower result, or due to insufficient sample being available to enable a re-test. Two road deaths have been referred to the Court of Appeal following the retest.
Two former employees – who had worked at other forensics laboratories before joining RTS – remain on police bail. The investigation is being led by Greater Manchester Police.
RTS Toxicology manager Dr Mark Piper said:
“We have acted as whistle-blower to ensure the integrity of the criminal justice system. We will continue to work with Greater Manchester Police and the appropriate authorities in the investigation. We will do all that we can to ensure this situation is resolved and deeply regret the distress that has been caused.
“We are now well-advanced in developing a fool-proof testing system which would enhance the security of our operations in the future, to provide the necessary level of confidence.”
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