Inside the SAPS’ Forensics Lab

The following is the first part of an exclusive series of articles published by the Cape Argus on the Plattekloof Forensic Science Laboratory in the Western Cape.

The Forensic Science Laboratory in Plattekloof, which deals with a variety of forensic disciplines and evidence for crime and court cases. Picture: Tracey Adams. Credit: CAPE ARGUS

Cape Town – The Western Cape has one of the most advanced police forensic laboratories in the country, purpose-built and designed with the utmost security and fidelity principles in mind.

How advanced? The facility in Plattekloof, is about 28 000m² of floor space housing about 500 staff members – two-thirds of whom are forensic scientists – working in laboratories containing pieces of equipment valued at up to R4 million, each capable of accurately analysing evidence, be it DNA, bullet casings and cartridges, documents, signatures or drugs and alcohol.

The Police Forensic Laboratory was built at an estimated cost of R600m and doesn’t fit the mould of traditional government buildings, which are often retrofitted to suit the purpose of the departments they house.

Brigadier Deon Meintjes, who runs the facility, explains that the lab was built by the Department of Public Works to the unit’s requirements and was designed without too much external input or influence from other labs around the world.

“We designed and built it to suit our needs.

“You’ll notice all of the various departments have the same kind of layout; the offices are situated around the outskirts of a central core – the labs. This is so that all of the fitments run centrally, from the Nederman arms (adjustable ventilation ducts to keep harmful or toxic fumes away from lab technicians), to the water and gas pipes and the rail cart system.”

To continue reading the full article, please click here.

SOURCE: This article was first published online by IOL News on the 13th of June 2016

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