Statement regarding the UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology 2015 briefing on Forensic Linguistics
posted 21 October 2015
- Bunn, S., & Foxen, S. (2015, September). Forensic language analysis, POSTnotes POST-PN-0509. Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology.
- On their website it states that: “The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology produces independent, balanced and accessible briefings on public policy issues related to science and technology.”
In my opinion, with respect to its coverage of forensic voice comparison, POSTNOTE Number 509 September 2015 Forensic Language Analysis is not balanced. It is biased in favour of certain comerical interests. It does not give adequate representation to the views of those who argue for the need for logically correct evaluation of evidence, for demonstration of validity and reliability under casework conditions, and for the use of approaches which minimise the potential for cognitive bias. The briefing is therefore out of step with the 2015 European Network of Forensic Science Institutes’ ENFSI Guideline for Evaluative Reporting, the 2014 Forensic Science Regulator of England & Wales’ Codes of Practice and Conduct for Forensic Science Providers and Practitioners in the Criminal Justice System, and the 2009 National Research Council Report on Strengthening forensic science in the United States. Logically correct evaluation of evidence based on relevant data, quantitative measurements, and statistical models, and empirical testing of validity and reliability under casework conditions are potentially problematic for the existing economic model of certain commercial interests. One may be entitled to write a biased document favouring particular interests, but it is inappropriate to claim that such a document is independent and balanced, especially if the document is produced by a government agency and intended to inform public policy debate this does a disservice to the intended audience.
Dr Geoffrey Stewart Morrison
Independent Forensic Consultant