Government Laboratory Logo

Forensic Science Division

Chemical Sciences Section

[ Key Instruments | Targets and Key Indicators ]
[ Previous | Next ]

Preservation of fibre contact evidence
Preservation of fibre contact evidence

The Chemical Sciences Section deals with a wide variety of cases, with particular emphasis on offences against the person and against property. The work of the section is broadly divided into three categories:

  • Trace Evidence Examination;
  • Miscellaneous Chemical Investigation;
  • Fire Investigation.

In addition to laboratory work, the professional staff of the section are also responsible for attending suspicious fire scenes to establish the cause of fire.



Scanning electron microscope
Scanning electron microscope

While the examination of miscellaneous chemical and liquor involves mainly straightforward instrumental analysis work, trace evidence examination is often painstaking and labour intensive. This area of work includes the examination of such trace materials as textile fibres, glass, paint and soil. Although costly in terms of manpower and working time, trace evidence frequently plays a major part in the evidence produced in major crime investigations, justifying the input and commitment apportioned to it.





Key Instruments

Automatic thermal desorption - gas chromatograph - mass spectrometer
Automatic thermal desorption - gas chromatograph
- mass spectrometer

Key instruments in the section :

  • Automatic thermal desorption — gas chromatograph — mass spectrometer
  • Fourier transform infrared — microscope
  • GRIM3 Glass refractive index measurement system
  • Scanning electron microscope with energy dispersive detector





Targets and Key Indicators

Key Performance Measures Relating to the Forensic Science Services


Targets are defined as the percentage of completed cases whose individual case-completion time does not exceed a specified number of working day(s)

Category Targets 2019
Trace evidence completed within 66 working days (%)# 90 82 84 90
Miscellaneous Chemical Investigation completed within 33 working days (%) 90 87 83 90
Fire investigation completed within 88 working days (%) 90 100 100 90

The performance has been affected by the growing demand on video/image analysis, a category of work that the Laboratory introduced since 2019.

Key Indicators

Key indicators are the number of cases investigated

Number of Cases Investigated 2019
Trace evidence 328 266 270
Miscellaneous Chemical Investigation 361 411 420
Fire Investigation 11 10 10
TOTAL 700 687 700