PROFESSOR Peter Watson, Solicitor Advocate and owner of PBW Law, has been appointed as President of the British Academy of Forensic Sciences (BAFS).
Professor Watson takes on this role from previous President Tracy Alexander FKC, Director of Forensic Services for the City of London Police.
BAFS is a charitable organsiation that aims to encourage study, improve practice and advance knowledge in forensic science and forensic medicine for public benefit.
It provides a forum to exchange information in the field of forensic science, promoting better cooperation and understanding between lawyers and expert witnesses.
Professor Watson said: “I am delighted to take up the role of President, and I am indebted to Tracy Alexander FKC for all of her support to date.
“She has made a huge and positive contribution to BAFS in the past few years which I will continue to build on.
“As a lawyer, my approach and focus will be somewhat different to that of Tracy’s who is a forensic scientist.
“That, of course, is the strength of our organisation which brings together different interests, experiences and disciplines to meet our aims and objectives.
“For an organisation of our relatively small stature, we make a significant and important impact in the world of forensic science and in the wider criminal justice system.
“As an organisation we are committed to furthering education and sharing expertise on national and international issues in medicine, science, and the law.”
Professor Watson said: “The frontiers of science are never fixed and our role is to share the advances, research, and insights of our members with those in the forensic and justice community that we engage with.
“Our events programme in the last year has been remarkable – from looking at forensic specialists, mass murder investigations and asking why history repeats itself.
“We have a range of interesting projects emerging and we look forward to more events.
“I believe we have an exciting future as an organisation. I am keen to grow BAFS, as well as extend our reach internationally.
“We need to rethink how we deal with crime, how we categorise it and whether we see some situations as a medical issue rather than something falling into the criminal justice system.
“We need measurable outcomes, different resources, and different thinking if we are to tackle what appears to be a huge and increasingly significant social problem.
“Only with a mind of the forensic scientist can we begin to analyse and understand these problems, find solutions and measure outcomes.”
Tracy Alexander said: “It’s been an honour and a privilege to serve as the BAFS President for so long, but I am content to move on now that our fine institution is safe in the hands of Peter Watson.”
Tracy will now lead Forensic Response UK (FR-UK), a database of active forensic scientists who cover all the forensic disciplines.
FR-UK is geared to taking instruction from global law enforcement agencies who need focused, project-based support.
BAFS is an interdisciplinary organisation that adds a breadth of understanding to the scientists as they engage with others in the forensic arena.
This includes lawyers, pathologists, clinicians and psychiatrists, amongst others.
The Academy has a programme of world-renowned speakers and organises specialist technical meetings.