NRGD Annual Report 2021
In this annual report, we look back on 2021 as well as on the first ten years of the NRGD. A remarkable milestone. Ten years of connecting law and science, that is something of which we are proud.
Our symposium in Tivoli Vredenburg, in Utrecht in the Netherlands, was visited by all different stakeholders who make the NRGD what it is: a register and quality standards institute for the judicial system. Whereas the register had still been empty at that time, it now lists around 600 experts from 11 fields of expertise and 18 subfields.
Results and new developments
- The NRGD processed 179 applications across 11 fields of expertise in 2021, of which 11 applications (6%) were rejected in 2021.
- DNA field of expertise: The first experts for DNA Kinship Analysis and DNA Activity Level were registered.
- Forensic Accountancy field of expertise: the Standard-Setting Advisory Committee (Normstellingsadviescommissie, NAC) will commence its work in 2022.
- Forensic Psychiatry, Psychology and Child and Youth Care Sciences field of expertise: The Board adopted the Policy Rule on a customised approach to retirement, so as to maximise opportunities for reporters to continue working for as long as possible within a quality framework.
- The Ad Hoc tools for experts who have previously never or only rarely reported in criminal law cases are consulted frequently via the NRGD website. The tools, for instance on how to write an adequate report, also became available in English in 2021.
A single register of experts for the entire judicial system
The NRGD is working towards a register for the entire judicial system. As in the case of the criminal justice system, there also is a need in the administrative and civil justice systems for suitable experts. Given that at present the NRGD only has a statutory basis for criminal law under the Dutch Criminal Code, a legislative amendment is required for this. The direction to be taken in follow-up steps was firmed up in departmental consultations. It was agreed that a knowledge group will be established in 2022 with the Ministry of Justice and Security, the judiciary and the NRGD to implement the amendment in the law.
Standardization and assessment
The policy of the NRGD is aimed at ensuring that if an organisation demonstrably has a sound training programme and examination, an expert will not be re-examined by the NRGD. An example to illustrate this is the NIFP’s (Netherlands Institute of Forensic Psychology and Psychiatry) Pro Justitia reporter study programme. An evaluation was carried out external examiners in 2021. The review was successful and confirmed that the NIFP has established and maintained a robust study programme.
Forensic officers from the National Police (NP) collect evidence, conduct further investigation and, increasingly, interpret the data obtained. Examples include blood spatter stain patterns and digital forensics. The NRGD is concerned about the present lack of a broad action plan geared to delivering a uniform robust quality system, with requirements proportionate to the task. The NRGD could play a role in putting in place a demonstrable quality assurance system.