Developing a strategic forensic science risk management system as a component of the forensic science system of systems

L. E. Wilson, M. E. Gahan, C. Lennard, J. Robertson

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Over the last decade, reviews of the forensic science industry have addressed critical system failures and made recommendations for improvements to the industry. These reviews identify systemic risks and issues but they do not explicitly address the need for strategic risk and issue management systems to deal with the identified issues and to mitigate risks. Risk and issue management, along with quality management systems, are critical components of the forensic science ‘system of systems’, which describes forensic science as a supporting system in the larger criminal justice, law enforcement, intelligence, and military systems. The update of ISO 17,025:2017 General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories now includes a chapter on risk-based thinking. Furthermore, ISO 31,000 principle and guidelines for risk management was updated in 2018 and it is important for the forensic science industry to consider the updated ISO 17,025:2017 and ISO 31,000. In this paper, we discuss risk and issues management in relation to the forensic science system of systems. The purpose is to review the strategic risks identified in reviews of the forensic science industry to identify risk treatments to help to mitigate against critical system failure, such as miscarriages of justice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-221
Number of pages14
JournalAustralian Journal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2020


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