Intended for healthcare professionals


The future of clinical forensic medicine

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 20 November 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:1316

Quality issues need to be addressed before the service is privatised

  1. Guy A Norfolk, police surgeon (,
  2. Margaret M Stark, honorary senior lecturer
  1. Stockwood Medical Centre, Bristol BS14 8PT
  2. Forensic Medicine Unit, St George's Hospital Medical School, London SW17 0RE

    In 1993 the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice considered the role of police surgeons in the criminal justice system. While acknowledging that they performed much valuable work, the commission voiced concerns about a lack of central coordination and quality control of this work.1 The commission recommended that a multidisciplinary Home Office working group should be set up to consider, among other things, the need for establishing centres of excellence at universities and appropriate training and standards for doctors providing clinical forensic services to the police. In 1997 the working group produced a draft report with several recommendations for improving the service, such as the establishment of a national forum to develop accreditation and monitor its effectiveness. No final report has been published, however, and there has been no government backing for the proposals. Despite the unfinished business of addressing the quality of the service, some police forces have contracted out …

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