2nd Annual Forensic Science Services Conference 2014

This last week Carolyn and I have been spoilt for choice in having the opportunity to attend as well as present at what can only be described as a world class event: the 2nd Annual Forensic Science Services (FSS) Conference which was held this last week in Pretoria from the 10th to the 13th February 2014.

One of the many well-packed conference presentations.

On any given day there was a choice of three different presentations running simultaneously around the fascinating world of forensic science. The only difficulty we had was choosing between which lectures we would attend at any given hour!

A combination of both local and international speakers made up the presenters platforms and topics ranged from strange and gruesome murders, to the latest in DNA as well as Fingerprint technology to legal and ethical perspectives on the various disciplines of forensic science. It was hard to believe that the FSS fell under what is often perceived to be a police force in crisis: the FSS, whilst part of SAPS, stands head and shoulders above any other SAPS department in terms of their expertise, foresight and willingness to embrace and utilise all of the latest forensic science technologies available to them.

What also struck Carolyn and I was the passion of the team that make up the FSS: whether they emanated from the fingerprint or DNA section, ballistics or questioned documents, they are all competent and passionate experts who are committed in every way to seeking justice and reducing crime.

Enjoying rhythmic tunes courtesy of the SAPS band.

It was an honour and privilege to be part of this group of people, which culminated in a fabulous gala dinner where everyone dressed up to the nines, and transformed themselves into glittering and gorgeous guests befitting of a ball! The SAPS band boogied the night away and we were entertained throughout the night by thoughtful addressees by the heads of the FSS.

Moreover, the work of The DNA Project was publicly and repeatedly acknowledged by the FSS, and it made us proud to be part of this dynamic group.

There is no doubt that the new DNA Act is going to put enormous pressure on the FSS and that there will be many challenges ahead, but with a Forensic infrastructure such as the one that we have in SA, as well as a team of committed people willing to do their bit to make it work, we will not only be moving in the right direction, we will in the future be one of the front runners of forensic science in the world.

Vanessa and Carolyn 'signing off' and ending the 4-day conference with a lovely gala dinner.

These are exciting times and we all need to stop for a minute and celebrate these small victories when we see them.

Thank you and well done to the FSS for a fantastic week — we look forward to next year where hopefully you will be able to fit in even more people to share this wonderful week of learning and opportunity.

Vanessa Lynch

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