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Forensic Capability Network appoints Jo Ashworth as permanent CEO

Jo Ashworth OBE has been appointed permanent CEO of the Forensic Capability Network (FCN).
Published - 18/11/2020 By - Chloe Livadeas

Hosted by Dorset Police, FCN is the new national forensics network for 45 police forces and law enforcement agencies in England and Wales.

Ms Ashworth was appointed following an application process during September and October that sought a “self-motivated, dynamic and influential leader to help create the world's most advanced and coordinated forensics network”.

The salary for the role is between £95 and £110K pa. 

With 32 years’ expertise in forensics, she was previously Director of Forensic Services at the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU) and also spent several years in the Forensic Science Service.

Whilst director at EMSOU, Ms Ashworth oversaw a three-month pilot project in Leicester where forensic investigators were only sent to attempted burglaries of odd numbered addresses. The aim was to see if blanket attendance of an overstretched resource actually made a difference to victim satisfaction.

James Vaughan, Chief Constable for Dorset Police and National Police Chiefs' Council Lead for Forensics, said: “Jo is absolutely the right person to embed this new national, networked approach to forensics in policing. She has real passion and has brought together a team of similarly passionate experts in their field.”

Since 2017, Ms Ashworth has been Programme Director for the NPCC national change programme Transforming Forensics (TF), the first task of which was to establish a permanent national network for forensics in policing. The Forensic Capability Network was launched in April 2020, after which Jo held the role of interim CEO for six months while host force Dorset Police organised hosting and funding arrangements.

Ms Ashworth will now step down from her TF role.

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill, said: “The FCN is a network for policing and by policing, so it must truly operate on behalf of members. Jo is committed to listening to and meeting the needs of members, and is an excellent advocate of FCN’s ethos of doing something once for the benefit of many. We’re confident she will lead the network in great things over coming years.”

The FCN said: “As CEO, Jo will play a vital role in setting the strategic direction of the network and enabling strategic collaboration with leaders across policing, government, industry and academia.”

Ms Ashworth said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to implement what many would see as the first truly networked policing model. I intend to build on the excellent teamworking FCN’s early advocates and adopters have already shown, and to keep listening to members so the network works for them.

“My first actions will be to give clarity where members need it, both in demonstrating the way forward for the network and showing how it will operate across the policing and scientific landscape. Forensics is changing and this is a really exciting time for all our members who are embracing that change.”

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