Blog: Meeting challenges head on

Brian Thomas, Finance Director, Key Forensic Services (KFS)

Just as every other business will testify, the past year-and-a-half has presented challenges that few of us could prepare for but we have had to meet them head-on.

KFS provides forensic services to police forces across the UK on investigations of a serious nature. The work is urgent and has to meet the very highest standards.

That includes sending specialists to a crime scene to decide how to conduct their forensic strategy, how to preserve evidence, testing exhibits at our labs and even providing witnesses in court.

Our end service is an Expert Witness Statement outlining what the forensic evidence shows.

It can cover anything from matching a bullet to a firearm through to matching shoe prints recovered from the scene by tracing the unique wear marks on the footwear.

So, when the world ‘stopped’ in March 2020, we had no choice but to carry on because we were designated as a key service and as key workers.

In the very early days of the pandemic there was genuine concern at public reaction to loss of liberties and essential services. Fortunately, that didn’t materialise and the nature of our work changed slightly.

It seems like stating the obvious, but for serious crimes to happen people have to be mixing and that wasn’t happening.

However, there was still work to be done and our labs had to remain open. We put Covid-19 measures in place for those continuing to work on-site, while other members of the team worked from home.

Our quality plan required that we had a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery policy to mitigate business interruption scenarios be that IT failure or an outbreak of illness – and we update and test those plans regularly.

Our plan borrows on the infrastructure of the University of Warwick Science Park and the support it provides to tenants. We hadn’t planned for a global pandemic, if truth be told, but all of the preparation work kicked in and the fact the Science Park maintained a physical presence on site throughout the pandemic was helpful.

Now that the world is opening up again, we are seeing more of our traditional work returning which from a societal point of view is not positive news because it means serious crime is on the rise again.

However, we have a team of committed forensic scientists who are dedicated to the work they do in helping to solve those crimes as part of a service that is arguably the best in the world.