Forensic News Blog

THE FORENSIC NEWS BLOG Providing the latest forensic news from across the world of forensic science.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Fifa announces World Cup drug testing crackdown

Fifa announces World Cup drug testing crackdown

Fifa threw down the gauntlet to drugs cheats when it announced out-of-competition blood and urine tests on 576 players before and during the World Cup.

Football's world governing body said its crackdown would start more than two months before the tournament kicks off in South Africa. The 32 finalists have been told to ­submit their team whereabouts to Fifa by 22 March. Without notice, eight players from each squad will be randomly selected during friendlies or training camps. Those tests will start on 10 April and run until 10 June, the day before the opening match of the World Cup.

Vigorous drug testing will also be carried out during the month-long competition, said Fifa's chief medical officer, Jiri Dvorak.

"Two months prior to the World Cup we will be visiting the teams unannounced," he told a press ­conference in Sun City, where Fifa concluded a three‑day medical conference today. ­"During the World Cup, two players from one team will be selected randomly after a match.

"We have a strict strategy to fight doping and we take the fight against doping very seriously and are committed to continuing it in full compliance with the Wada [World Anti-Doping Agency] code. The teams have confirmed their full compliance in this regard."

Dvorak said that 320 tests will be conducted before the tournament and at least 256 more after kick-off. He added that Fifa has conducted more than 33,000 doping tests over the years, with 0.03% returning positive results.

"We think that the individual in-competition and out-of-competition testing in football is really inefficient and ineffective. Random team testing of elite teams at any time offers a more deterring effect."

Earlier, concern was expressed that players could use undetectable ­stimulants derived from traditional African ­medicines that are not banned to gain an unfair advantage. South Africa's team doctor, Ntlopi Mogoru, said some plants, usually found in tropical African countries, could produce steroid byproducts that are not on Wada's list and are not picked up in doping tests. The Fifa medical committee chairman, Michel D'Hooghe, said he wanted Wada to consider some African plants for analysis.

Physicians representing all 32 finalists signed a joint declaration pledging their full support for Fifa's anti-doping strategy, as well as for the implementation of a pre-competition medical assessment (PCMA) to prevent injuries.

Before the World Cup actually kicks off roughly 35% of players (eight per team) will be selected at random for drug and urine testing, which an awfully big number - equating to 256 tests. Another 256 tests will take place during the tournament, so the whole thing's on the up and up. Or not on the up and up, as it were.

For more information on Sport Drug Testing please contact FRL.

Britain rejects plans to introduce controversial national ID cards.

Britain rejects plans to introduce controversial national ID cards.

The government announced last week that British citizens will never be forced to carry ID cards.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson said that a trial scheme that was to force some airport staff to carry the controversial cards has been scrapped.The massive climb-down means that carrying an ID card will now never be made compulsory for members of the general public.

The move signals the end of one of Labour's most controversial policies, which has been championed by a succession of Home Secretaries.

Opposition parties and campaigners who have argued the £5billion scheme is unnecessary and excessively expensive have prevailed in this much publicised debate.

Insisting that ID cards should be voluntary, Mr Johnson, home secretary said 'Holding an identity card should be a personal choice for British citizens - just as it is now to obtain a passport.'

Previously, ministers said ID cards could become compulsory once 80 per cent of the population was covered. Jacqui Smith unveils the ID card in September last year - six months after conceding that they would not be compulsory after all

The cards were being trialed at Manchester Airport and London City Airport prior to a national roll-out but that trial has now been cancelled, Mr Johnson said.

The announcement means that foreign nationals in the UK will be the only group of people who will be forced to carry the cards.

Earlier this year it was revealed that the bill for issuing ID cards and passports over the next ten years is now £4.945billion for UK citizens and £379million for foreign nationals.

The rollout of the ID card scheme will now be accelerated on a purely voluntary basis for UK citizens at £30 per card, starting in Greater Manchester by the end of the year.

Mr Johnson said: 'I want the introduction of identity cards for all British citizens to be voluntary and I have therefore decided that identity cards issued to airside workers, planned initially at Manchester and London City airports later this year, should also be voluntary.'

Asked if the cards would ever be made compulsory he said: 'No'.'If a future Government wanted to make them compulsory it would require primary legislation,' he added.Charles Clarke was just one of a number of Home Secretaries who championed the identity cards.
Mr Johnson said he still believed the cards would help improve security at airports. But he admitted the Government had allowed the perception that the cards would be a 'panacea' that would stop terrorism.

Everyone who wants a card, or a biometric passport, will have their details stored on the national identity register.

The scheme has been mired in controversy ever since its launch, coming under fire from all angles as politicians tried to present it as a solution to multiple problems.

It has been proposed as a way of countering terrorism, identity theft and misuse of public services and also as a way of proving the carrier's age and identity generally.

ID cards were enshrined in the Identity Cards Act 2006 and major contracts were to have been awarded by the end of this year for design, production and rollout.

Cards are linked to the National Identity Register, a centralised database intended to hold information such as fingerprints, facial and iris scans, past and present addresses.

The Unite union which represents many of the workers, welcomed the move.

National officer Brian Boyd said: 'The continued persistence of Unite in highlighting the unworkable elements of this scheme, has paid-off.

'Our approach in pursuing the Government on behalf of many thousands of airside workers who would have been disadvantaged by the introduction of ID cards, has been fully vindicated.

'National safety very often begins at UK airports, and our members who work airside are in the frontline in this respect. However, the Government's plans were flawed, thankfully today's announcement by the Home Secretary is the sensible choice.'

Next year young people opening bank accounts are to be encouraged to obtain ID cards and over the following two years anyone getting a passport will get one - but can opt out.

The cost of the cards per person was given as £77 in 2004, then as £93 in July 2005. But research by the London School of Economics put it at a massive £230 a head.

For more information on forensic dna profiling please contact Forensic Resources Ltd.

CCTV footage of Forensic Diamond Robbers

CCTV footage of robbers dressed as police forensics officers stealing diamond jewellery from a Lincoln shop has been released by police.

The footage shows one of the masked men threatening a member of staff with a hammer at James Usher & Son in Guildhall Street in the raid on Saturday morning.

Managing director James Frampton said about £80,000 of jewels had been stolen and security is now being reviewed.
The robbers escaped in a car later found abandoned and on fire. The green Vauxhall Astra was set alight in Lindum Terrace. The robbers and getaway driver then made their escape in a white Transit-type van parked on Arboretum Avenue, police said.

Officers said the two robbers - wearing white hooded-boiler suits with a "police forensics" logo and dust masks which covered most of their faces - took various pieces of diamond jewellery.

They appeared to target the most valuable items in the shop. Mr Frampton said: "We are relieved that our staff are physically unharmed although some are struggling to come to terms with the shock of these events.

"We appeal to all members of the public who were in the vicinity and saw anything at all to help the police with their inquiries. It is important for us all that these dangerous individuals are apprehended."

If you know any further information about this investigation please contact your local police station.

For more information on forensic CCTV Video Analysis please contact Forensic Resources Ltd

Hutton school fingerprinting causes parent outrage.

Hutton school fingerprinting causes parent outrage.

A school in Hutton has been accused of abusing children's civil liberties following plans to record their fingerprints to pay for school dinners.

Such was the outrage from parents at St Martin's School in Hutton, the idea has today been put on hold just a day after the new proposal had being unveiled.

The school wants to use state-of-the-art biometric finger mapping technology replacing the need for cash in the canteen. It would mean pupils and staff simply scan their fingertips to pay for lunches and snacks. But the move has been labeled by some as a move towards a "Big Brother" state.

Concerned parent Claire Flood was shocked to discover all pupils were due to be fingerprinted this week, before another letter, dated the following day, quickly pulled the plug on its introduction after complaints came flooding in.

"It seems to be a bit Big Brother like," she said. "It shouldn't be compulsory. I think it is an infringement of their human rights. I was shocked by the thought of it."

Another parent, who did not want to be named, slammed the Orwellian move by the school."It is an abuse of their civil liberties," he said. "You worry about this sort of thing in other parts of your life, but would like to think your children were safe from it at school. Another unnamed parent said "You just wonder why they need fingerprints. It's not like they're criminals."Another said: "I just don't see the need for it. What's the problem with cash?"

The decision to introduce this new fingerprint technology has divided opinions of parents with some less concerned. Debbie King, 48, who was waiting for her child at the Hanging Hill Lane School, said: "It doesn't really bother me at all. They only have about 35 minutes for lunch, anything to make it quicker."

Head teacher Dr Nigel Darby said the school had put the scheme on hold to reassure parents and to see whether the new coalition Government actually bans the use of fingerprinting at schools, as it has previously pledged.

He also said the data being held would not be the actual fingerprint but a unique number based on four individual points of the print.

As a result he said the data could not be used to create a fingerprint and catch pupils for any wrongdoings such as theft.

"No fingerprints are stored and it is not in any way invading civil liberties," he said.

Another British school, Brentwood County High School, introduced the technology last month, we can reveal, and claim it has proved a huge hit.

If the scheme goes ahead at St Martin's, payments will be deducted from a pupil's account which can be topped up online or by more traditional methods such as cheques.

Dr Darby said those totally opposed to the fingerprint technology could opt for an alternative card and pin system.

He said there were many advantages to the system including the fact it was quicker and easier, plus parents could keep an eye on what their children were eating at school.

The debate of school fingerprinting continues to divide public opinion across the UK. For more information on fingerprinting, forensic fingerprint analysis and dna profiling please visit Forensic Resources Ltd.

Forensic testing of victim remains and tools in "Crossbow Cannibal" murder investigation

Forensic testing of victim remains and tools in "Crossbow Cannibal" murder investigation.

Forensic tests are being carried out on remains and tools found in the River Aire by police searching for the bodies of two Bradford women murdered by Stephen Griffiths, the Crossbow Cannibal.

Stephen Griffiths has been charged with murdering prostitutes Suzanne Blamires, Shelley Armitage and Susan Rushworth.

Only Ms Blamires' body parts have so far been found. Remains pulled from the river on Saturday are being tested to find out if they are human. A large suitcase later pulled from the river contained tools, police said.

Mr Griffiths, 40, gave his name as "the crossbow cannibal" in court on Friday. He is due to appear at Bradford Crown Court again via videolink from Wakefield Prison on 7 June.

Police found 36-year-old Ms Blamires' body parts in the River Aire near Shipley on Tuesday. They found more remains about 200 yards away in the river on Saturday. Police said as far as they were aware all of Ms Blamires' remains had been recovered. Stephen Griffiths was arrested at his flat on Monday. The mood outside the block of flats where Mr Griffiths' lived was described as strange as residents sign in and out each time they go anywhere.

Elsewhere, detectives knocked through a wall before sifting through the sand and soil which came out of it with a trowel. Forty-five detectives are now working on the case with support from about 70 other officers.

Ms Armitage, 31, has not been seen since 26 April and Ms Rushworth, 43, has been missing for almost a year.

Police have been conducting fingertip searches across the city, including in the drains around Mr Griffiths' Thornton Road flat.

A West Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: "Officers are continuing to search areas of Bradford city centre and the River Aire throughout the day and are also proactively following several lines of inquiry.

For more information on forensic analysis please contact Forensic Resources Ltd.

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