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DNA expert to lead Scotland's forensic service

Scotland?s forensic service is getting a new leader who is an expert in DNA technology. Fiona Douglas is stepping up.
Published - 25/08/2021 By - Chris Smith

The new head of Scotland’s forensic services is one of the country’s top experts on DNA – and an internal promotion.

Fiona Douglas has been announced as the Scottish Police Authority’s new Director of Forensic Services.

Currently the Head of Strategy and Change, she will take up her role on 1 October following the retirement of Tom Nelson.

Ms Douglas has 24 years of experience working in Forensic Science with the past 10 years working within Scotland.

Prior to her current role, she was Head of Biology within Forensic Services and led the national development of this part of Forensic Services within the Scottish Police Authority. This included the development and implementation of the new DNA24 technology that is now at the heart of DNA services provided to the justice system in Scotland.

She has been a member of the national DNA database strategy board and prior to working in Scotland worked at various locations in England and Wales within the government-owned Forensic Science Service.

After taking over she will play a key role taking forward the Forensic 2026 Strategy, building capacity, performance and improvement across the service.  

Reporting directly to the Chair of the Scottish Police Authority, Ms Douglas will be responsible for the strategic direction, performance and scientific excellence of Forensic Services in Scotland.

Martyn Evans, Chair of the Authority, said: “Forensic Services plays a unique and important role keeping people safe and supporting the criminal justice system in Scotland. Fiona has a wealth of experience and skills in the discipline, working alongside Tom Nelson for the last 10 years.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for her to now lead and further develop the UK’s largest public sector forensic services organisation. I look forward to working closely with her on that.”

Her first appearance as Director of Forensic Services at the Forensic Services Committee will be on 25 October.

Ms Douglas said: “I am incredibly proud of the world-leading and unique role that Forensic Services plays in the detection of crime in Scotland. Across Forensic Services we have a highly skilled and dedicated workforce who are at the heart of everything we do.

“I look forward to working with them and our wider partners across policing, the CROWN and PIRC to build on the progress we have made in recent years and strengthen our service and contribution further.”

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