Benefits of retaining Forensic Science Service
The West Midlands has suffered disproportionately from the effects of the recession, and has the worst unemployment rate of any region in the country.
But the severe problems of the past 12 months have come in the context of significant steps in the right direction.
Manufacturing has continued to provide jobs and wealth, and its importance to the national economy is being recognised by politicians of all parties.
At the same time, the region is slowly carrying out the difficult task of diversifying and creating different types of employment, not to replace manufacturing but to strengthen the region’s economy to the benefit of every type of business. This is one of the reasons why the loss of Birmingham’s Forensic Science Service laboratory would be such a blow to the city.
As MP Clare Short says, the service provides high-quality jobs. Many of those who work there will be science graduates, who we want to encourage to stay in the city.
Indeed, the loss of 180 jobs of any kind in the West Midlands is a major blow when the region can least afford it. But the arguments for keeping the laboratory open aren’t limited to economics. It is hard to see how West Midlands Police can receive the same high-quality service from the Forensic Science Service when their own local laboratory has closed down.
As the country’s largest force outside London, and one that deals frequently with serious crimes, West Midlands Police has more need than most for forensic services. Birmingham’s central position makes it a sensible location for laboratories serving forces across the country, too, if some cutbacks do need to be made.
Every organisation needs to change sometimes but the Forensic Science Service should look again at the benefits of keeping a major facility in Birmingham.