Psychology division soon at Regional Forensic Science Lab

Shortage of manpower, a matter of concern

As the role of forensic medicine has been increasing, the Regional Forensic Science Laboratory in Mangalore which is functioning under two divisions will add one more specialised section soon.

The State government has approved for the functioning of Forensic Psychology division in Mangalore Forensic Lab, thus allowing the lab to widen its area of operation.  

The Regional Forensic Lab that receives over 100 cases per month from four districts under the Western Range is at present having two divisions namely Toxicology and Biology. If the Toxicology division undertakes the extraction, analysis of various poisons and drugs from visceral samples, the Biology division deals with analysis of various exhibits including blood, saliva, hair, tissues etc. With the opening of Psychology division, the lab will be able to conduct polygraph, brain mapping, narco analysis and other psychological tests to elicit crime related information from individuals connected to crime.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Regional Forensic Science Laboratory Deputy Director Dr T S Kenchappa said that the lab has been supplied with necessary equipment to start Forensic Psychology division. However they could not start functioning as the required personnel are not yet recruited. “The division requires two staff i.e a scientific officer and a scientific assistant for the operation. We are waiting for the government to fill the posts so that we can at least begin with the initial work,” he said. 

Two proposalsHe also informed that they have sent two more proposals to the State government requesting to open Fire Arms division and Chemical division in the lab. The Fire Arms branch will help in examining the cases pertaining to weapons, fire arms, guns etc where as the Chemical division deals with chemical analysis of food adulteration and the like. 

“The lab is waiting for the government to approve the two proposals and once they are approved the lab will be a full-fledged one. With this the lab will have the potential to handle more number of cases,” he said.

Currently the lab receives over 100 cases every month. The Toxicology division receives 80-100 cases on an average in a month and the Biology division receives 15 to 20 cases. The government has also approved for the expansion of the lab building. Dr  Kenchappa said that a new floor will be constructed and the work will begin soon. 

According to Dr Kenchappa most of the cases that are handled by the lab are related to unnatural death and drunk and drive cases. Along with it they also receive the cases of murder, attempt to murder, rape and assault. 

Staff shortageDespite the lab receiving green signal for expansion plans, the shortage of staff is the matter of concern at the moment. The lab which has 28 sanctioned posts out of which 13 posts are of technical staff, is struggling to handle the cases as 60 percent of the technical staff posts are lying vacant.

Dr Kenchappa said that though there are no pending cases in Biology division, handling of cases under Toxicology division has been difficult. With eight posts lying vacant, there has been a month’s delay in solving the cases, he said.

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