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State Forensic Science Bureau

History

The Forensic Science Cabinet was set up in 1921 for the first time in Latvia as a result of the requests from judiciary and prosecutors who urgently needed scientifically based results of forensic investigation of material evidence. In 1925 the Cabinet was transformed to the Forensic Science Institute (FSI) with a staff of 8 experts. The first director, Professor Artur Kanger, came from the Russian Forensic Science Laboratory in Odessa. Active scientific and case work was started under his leadership. The Institute existed until 1945. More than 40000 forensic reports were written during those years. The majority of them were forensic investigations of documents and handwriting. Forensic examinations of fingerprints and toolmarks were also carried out.

Before the end of the Second World War the equipment of the FSI was taken out to Germany. After the war the forensic scientists were either deported to Siberia as the Soviet regime considered them as "dangerous", or they had died during the war. As a result there was not a forensic science institution in Latvia for the next 6 years. However, some kinds of forensic investigation were carried out in the Faculty of Law of the Latvia State University.

The Latvian Forensic Science Laboratory was founded for the second time in 1951 as an independent laboratory intended for preparing forensic expert opinions for the courts and prosecutors, also for use in Lithuania and Estonia. At first the laboratory consisted of three departments - Department of General Forensic Science, Department of Traffic Accidents Examination and Department of Accountant Documents Examinations. In 1968 the Department of Forensic Chemical Examinations and Criminology was formed in the Laboratory. A few years later the Scientific Information Division and Library were established.

In January 2002 the new name - The State Forensic Science Bureau was given.