Forensic Science Services Receives Budget Boost

Forensic Science Services Receives Budget Boost

The National Forensics Science Services (NFSS) has received an almost million-dollar increase in its yearly budget. The government department is a part of the Ministry of Home Affairs, with a specialization in forensic science. Its work plays a pivotal role in all aspects of crime fighting and provides the police with scientific data used in prosecuting criminal cases. To secure improved efficiency in the laboratory, the government has increased its budget from 4.3 million dollars to just under 5.2 million dollars. NFSS Executive Director Gian Cho notes that the boost in finances will ensure the department can improve its services. 

Gian Cho, Executive Director, National Forensic Science Service: “The amount that we’re actually investing in strengthening capacity, in training, in equipment is about almost $2.3 million dollars with that capital II funding. A big part of that, half a million of that is for the rapid DNA equipment. The rest of it is to upkeep existing equipment, purchase the supplies. We spend every year over a million dollars in just consumable supplies, in equipment, in maintenance because it is an expensive activity. It’s laboratory work and I’m also talking about crime scene equipment, crime scene cameras, processing all the reagents that we have to order from the USA, talking about the medical examiners as well that do the autopsies, the PPE, the materials, the saws, the body bags I mean the specimen containers, the health and safety materials that we use it adds up. So yes we will continue to grow our budget. Like I said this is the first time our budget has exceeded $5 million dollars and that is because the government has approved that capital II expenditure for rapid DNA, for a new ballistic microscope, for specialized crime scene cameras that can detect ultraviolet imaging. Efforts like that, initiatives like that and justifying what the returns are, return on investment is a term that lab directors used. You’re investing in forensics what will you get out of it because obviously that’s a million dollars that the hospital people could have said well we also need increased funding, police could also say we need increased funding, Ministry of Education so everyone could always do with increased budget allocation it’s how again using data how we show that we need this particular increase in budget for these activities and these are the returns on investment that the Belizean public can expect.”

The increase was announced last month during the budget debate.

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