AN innovative project to rapidly speed up the time it takes to get DNA profiles from crime scenes has scooped more than £400,000 in government funding.

Lancashire police and crime commissioner Clive Grunshaw submitted a successful bid to the Home Office’s police innovation fund for £431,000 to trial the technology, meaning officers could obtain a DNA profile from a crime scene in a matter of hours.

The county was one of several areas which applied for funding to test out the RapidHIT DNA technology. Mr Grunshaw said: “Technology which will enable police to carry out their roles quicker and more effectively is vital to the future success of the force, and this Home Office funding gives Lancashire the opportunity to be at the forefront of a project which will do just that.

“Ultimately, when a crime happens the public want and expect Lancashire Constabulary to solve it as quickly as possible and if RapidHIT DNA can be implemented in Lancashire it will help that to happen. It will improve public confidence, free up officer time and allow offenders to be charged quicker.”

Currently, it can take up to five days for a DNA sample to be obtained from the National DNA database. RapidHIT DNA would remove the need for the sample to be sent to a lab, and could see the time taken to obtain a DNA profile from a crime scene reduced to a matter of hours.

Dr Kath Mashiter, scientific support manager for Lancashire Police, said: “The aim of this project is to fully evaluate the equipment for the benefit of ourselves and police forces and agencies nationwide in order to significantly impact upon the way forensic science supports policing in the future.”

During the trial, which will last six months, the RapidHIT DNA technology will be used during ‘real life’ investigations in Lancashire to assess how it works best, its reliability and the cost benefits of using this technology.