NATA


AFP gains first accreditation to AS 5388

AFP

Back in 2009 the Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency National Institute of Forensic Science (ANZPAA NIFS) facilitated the formation of a Standards Australia Forensic Analysis Committee to address a gap in available resources specifically designed for the forensic setting.

As a result, the following national standard with four parts has been produced and published:

AS 5388.1 Forensic analysis Part 1: Recognition, recording, recovery, transport and storage of material

AS 5388.2 Forensic analysis Part 2: Analysis and examination of material

AS 5388.3 Forensic analysis Part 3: Interpretation

AS 5388.4 Forensic analysis Part 4: Reporting

NATA determined that as of 1 July 2013, facilities could be assessed against these documents in addition to the current standard for Forensic Science ISO/IEC 17025:2005. It was determined, however, that AS 5388.1 contains a large section on occupational health and safety. Whilst NATA emphasises the importance of safe work practices, the NATA assessment process does not include a formal safety audit. As such, any assessments conducted would not be against Section 6 of AS 5388.1. 

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) advised NATA in the lead up to their routine technical reassessments that they intended to seek accreditation against AS 5388 for all six of their offices in Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

The assessments were conducted by Ms Jan Beattie and Mr Jason Magee, NATA Senior Client Coordinators against ISO/IEC 17025:2005 and the four parts of the standard AS 5388 utilising the gap analysis document produced by NATA. This document highlights the additional criteria included over and above accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025 and is being used to assess the facilities for compliance to AS 5388. As this was the first assessment, the process took considerable time and effort to align the new criteria with the processes put into place by the AFP in meeting the criteria in the documents.

AFP Forensics found the collaborative gap analysis approach used was a positive experience. The gap analysis was integrated into the reassessment process and was not an additional burden from a client’s perspective.

Following assessments at all the AFP sites, accreditation against AS 5388 was granted on 21 February 2014 and is evident on their scopes of accreditation which can be viewed on the NATA website at www.nata.com.au.

NATA has been approached by a number of other facilities wishing to be assessed against AS 5388 as an additional criteria to the international standard ISO/IEC 17025.