Hon Dave Kelly BA MLA

Hon Dave Kelly BA MLA

Minister for Water; Forestry; Youth

    Boost for State’s top scientists to help solve crime and deliver justice

    22/12/2020 1:30 PM
    • ​ChemCentre commissions new $825,000 state of the art scanning electron microscope and new $500,000 high resolution mass spectrometer
    • Newly commissioned instruments part of McGowan Government's $2.7 million investment in enhancing ChemCentre's capability

    Science Minister Dave Kelly today announced that the ChemCentre has commissioned two new state of the art instruments that will further enhance the capabilities of the State's specialist forensic science and analytical chemistry laboratory.


    ChemCentre's chemists provide a range of forensic services in support of Western Australian Police, the State Coroner and the State's horse and greyhound racing industries. During 2019-20, ChemCentre analysed around 8,000 illicit drug samples, 6,000 traffic enforcement toxicology cases, 9,500 racing chemistry samples and issued 2,400 reports to the Coroner.


    The critical role played by ChemCentre scientists in supporting the administration of justice in WA was highlighted during the recent trial of Bradley Robert Edwards. Years of painstaking, forensic work and fibre analysis carried out by ChemCentre scientists was a significant part of the State's successful prosecution case.


    The newly commissioned instruments include a $500,000 mass spectrometer with advanced functionality, resolution and sensitivity that will assist ChemCentre scientists in their forensic work and enhance their analyses carried out for the Coroner, road traffic enforcement and the WA justice system.


    Also commissioned was a new $825,000 scanning electron microscope that offers enhanced detection capability that will enable ChemCentre scientists to examine samples as small as 1 millionth of a millimetre.


    This increased capability will be particularly useful in criminal investigations involving the analysis of minute particles such as gunshot residues, paint and glass fragments, soils and other trace evidence found at crime scenes and in detecting substances used to manufacture illicit drugs.


    The new microscope will also be used for analysis work for the environment and mining sectors to identify the composition of minerals and associated samples and for characterising dust samples to inform environmental abatement strategies.


    Comments attributed to Science Minister Dave Kelly:

    "The State Government recognises the critical role ChemCentre plays in supporting our justice system, protecting the community and the environment, and assisting economic growth by working with industry.


    "The recent Bradley Edwards trial illustrated how crucial good science, and the expert work of ChemCentre scientists, are to the justice system in WA.


    "We have committed $2.7 million per year over the next four years to ensure that our State's top chemists utilise the latest modern equipment, such as the scanning electron microscope, to ensure they can apply leading edge scientific analysis for the benefit of Western Australia."


    Minister's office - 6552 6100