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Delhi Police to get CSI-style forensic vans with voice & bullethole testing, explosive detection

Procured from National Forensic Sciences University, 15 vans will be assigned across police districts. Focus is to boost conviction rates & to reduce burden on existing labs.

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New Delhi: The Delhi Police is set to get 15 high-tech state-of-the-art mobile forensic vans (MFVs) in order to expedite forensic examinations in heinous offences.

The vans will be delivered late this year or early next year.

Sources in the police said that 15 such vans were procured from the National Forensic Sciences University (NFSU), Gandhinagar, and that this was being done in an attempt to boost conviction rates as well as to reduce burden on the existing forensic labs.

In August, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had said  that the Centre was aiming to make forensic examination “compulsory and legal” in all cases that entail a punishment of more than six years.

According to the sources, the high-tech MFVs will help in voice analysis and identification of fingerprints as well as in determining injury patterns, gunshot wounds and other wounds on victims. The vans are also equipped with kits for conducting spot forensic analysis and tools for on-the-spot collection and preservation of samples.

“The Delhi Police has already placed an order for 15 vans. The cost of each van without digital forensic equipment is around Rs 51 lakh, while it will cost around Rs 89 lakh with the equipment,” a senior official associated with the project at NFSU told ThePrint. “The Delhi Police has procured the vans without digital forensics for now, and delivery is scheduled for the last week of December or the first week of January.”

The project is the brainchild of NFSU Vice-Chancellor J.M. Vyas, the official explained, stating that “the aim behind these mobile forensic vans is to standardise forensic procedures and establish one protocol for such tests”.

In Delhi, the vans will be assigned across 15 police districts, one for each.

“If the Crime Branch, or any other team requires the vans, they will ask the district police for now,” a source from the Delhi Police said. “Experts from the NFSU will be the forensic experts. The van drivers will also be provided by the university. Local police will assist the team.”

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What the vans will hold

Under the directions of the home ministry and after a research time of about 1.5 years, the NFSU came up with the MFV model which will be equipped for preliminary study and testing of evidence in crimes such as rape, murder, dacoity, explosions, narcotics, arson, accidents, etc.

Some of the key equipment inside the vans will be a refrigerator (for storage of biodegradable evidence), weighing balance, CCTV camera, LED screen (for monitoring real-time movement at a crime scene), stereo microscope (for physical examination of traces of evidence), laptops, digital cameras and flashlights.

Additionally, the vans will have 14 kits for crime scene protection, general investigation, evidence collection & packaging, fingerprint-collection, latent fingerprint development, foot & tyre print-casting, forensic light sources, blood & semen detection, sexual assault investigation, explosives detection, narcotics testing, gunpowder detection, bullethole testing and arson investigation.

The vans will also be equipped with facilities for experts to continue their work for hours. “Initially, we had a lot of struggle in terms of sizes and selecting the kits that fit in. Quality tests were also conducted,” the official associated with the project said.

(Edited by Nida Fatima Siddiqui)

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