Fire Investigation Workstream
31 July 2015
The Fire Investigation Workstream is continuing to identify and monitor emerging concerns.
One such issue is the Fire Investigation Protocol, a draft of which went out to public consultation in 2013-14. This has now been revised by Forensic Science Regulator Jill Tulley who wishes that fire investigators should aim to achieve ISO 17020 accreditation by 2020. The redraft incorporates direct references to ISO 17020 and ILAC 19 (an Australian standard which is more directly relevant), effectively ensuring pseudo-compliance with ISO 17020 in 12 months. However, the drafting committee (and wider industry) are unprepared to take on the protocol in this revised form
It is proposed that the protocol is the best way to help the industry get to this accreditation. The current proposed strategy is that the UK-AFI and IFE will review the January 2015 version of the protocol (this is currently passing through their respective committees). Once they are content with it they will put forward a technical argument that the protocol should be used throughout the UK as a best practice guide.
It is currently proposed the IFE, UK-AFI and CFOA will endorse and jointly own the document, perhaps with input from the FSF. An MOU is currently being drafted that will set out the relationships between the respective parties.
Also of concern is that a number of Fire and Rescue Authorities are reviewing their fire investigation activities in the light of proposals to bring fire and police closer together under police commissioners. It appears to be that some fire authorities expect that the police will take on a greater role in fire investigation and relieve the fire authority of the need to resource fire investigation. These proposals are not welcomed by the fire investigation community.
For further information on the Fire Investigation Workstream