Top cop calls for creation of local forensics lab to help solve more crime

Commissioner Atlee Rodney said sending forensic samples overseas is expensive (Photo by Observer’s Kadeem Joseph)
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By Carlena Knight

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Antigua and Barbuda’s Commissioner of Police has made a call for the government to construct a new state of the art forensics laboratory in the country.

According to Atlee Rodney, the police force having their own forensics lab would help to improve the investigations into some cases as, currently, when samples are sent overseas for analysis, they are not given priority.

“Forensics plays a critical role in investigations in modern day. There is a lot of trace evidence that you can get. There is a lot of things that you can analyse for DNA. It is a powerful tool and we need that type of technology, we need that type of science to assist us in the investigation,” he told Observer.

“It is an expensive venture and we sometimes use money as the excuse of not doing it, but it is critical. Some of the crimes that these developed countries have to solve, we have to solve the same as well, so we would like to have that at our disposal,” Rodney said.

Sending samples overseas, Rodney said, is an expensive and limited practice as they can only send a few items at a time.

“When we have to rely on them there is a cost. Even when it is the FBI, we are responsible to get the officer up there, which means he has to get a hotel; it is a costly venture. When we go to Jamaica, we have to carry the cost of getting the officer to Jamaica but also paying for the services at the lab. It is an expensive venture,” Rodney reiterated.

He claimed it would be no hassle for the government to acquire outside help to run the local lab as there are members within the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda as well as other persons locally who have been trained in this area.

All he said that is needed is for the “proper structure and equipment to be put in place”.

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