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Netherlands Forensic Institute, Netherlands

The core activities of the Netherlands Forensic Institute

 (NFI) are threefold:

  • to carry out forensic casework
  • to conduct Research & Development
  • to act as a centre of forensic knowledge and expertise

Forensic casework

The NFI contributes to the law enforcement effort by providing its services to the judiciary, the public prosecutors and other publicly financed investigation services. No fees are charged for the investigations. In practice, most of the investigations (over 90%) are requested by the 25 regional police forces which constitute the Dutch police.

 

Research & development

As in all forensic laboratories, forensic casework constitutes a core activity. However, to maintain a high scientific standard, also in the longer term, it is considered necessary to devote sufficient resources to R&D projects, as distinct from case-related research. This makes it possible for new methods and procedures to be developed, tested and introduced.

 

Knowledge and expertise

A third core activity is to act as a centre of forensic knowledge and expertise. This includes participating in instruction and training of crime scene investigators and public prosecutors, creating and maintaining collections and various database systems, advising on new legislation and publishing articles. Of course, the three core activities are not always easily distinguishable. In fact, they are frequently carried out by the same people. Far from being a problem, this tends to have an advantageous effect.

 

Sphere of activity

As in many countries, the sphere of activity of the NFI is traditionally broad and comprises a wide range of scientific disciplines. In addition to practising the ‘classical’ areas of expertise, the NFI is one of the - as yet relatively few - laboratories to extend its sphere of activity to pathology, investigations of environmental offences and of offences relating to information technology. The concentration of forensic knowledge and expertise within a single institution has been found to be very advantageous.

 

More information is available from http://www.forensischinstituut.nl/.