Dr Karen Stow BSc, MSc, MBA, PgCE, FFS
After graduating with a MSc in Forensic Science from Strathclyde University, Karen was the Head of the Forensic Services Laboratory at Greater Manchester Police for 10 years. Responsible for all in-house forensic laboratory services including finger and footwear mark visualisation, questioned document analysis, drug testing, forensic imaging she led on quality and health & safety managing complex projects including laboratory design.
Until January 2012, Karen was the chair of the National Fingerprint Development Laboratories Group, responsible for the strategic direction and good practice. She also chaired the East Midlands Police Forces Laboratories and the Footwear & Intelligence Groups. She was also the NPIA Business Lead for Forensic Mark Visualisation. Since then Karen has assisted in the review of the Home Office CAST Finger Mark Visualisation Manual (2014) and has conducted numerous research projects within the field.
Karen has written a number of publications
Forensic & Business Management
As Scientific Support Manager for Derbyshire Constabulary Karen was responsible for the strategic management of a team operating within diverse forensic areas including Laboratory Services, Crime Scene Investigation, Forensic and Drug Submissions, Forensic Identification (fingerprints, footwear, gloves & tyre marks), Forensic Intelligence, Forensic Imaging, Facial Identification, Hi Tech Crime, and Forensic Training. She was also responsible for a multi million pound budget, forward planning, policy formulation, service management, health & safety, quality, human resource management, recruitment & selection, performance management and customer satisfaction.
Until January 2012 Karen was a member of the NPIA Forensic21 Business Change Group, the ACPO Forensic Science & Innovation Group, the ACPO National Forensic Procurement User Group. She also chaired the East Midlands Police Forces' Forensic Supplier performance Meetings and was deputy chair of the ACPO East Midlands Forensic Sciences Group. Karen was also a member of the NPIA Forensic Case Management User Group.
Karen's achievements include;
- Technical lead for a multi million pound, multi-agency Forensic Procurement tender resulting in £5 million savings across the 5 East Midlands Police forces as well as project managing a number of other tender exercises including major re-structuring, design and implementation of services, capital purchases and services procurement
- Devised and implemented strategies providing significant savings and income whilst providing improved forensic performance including expanding in-house services, income generation initiatives and forensic submissions policies
- Writing successful business cases which have included proposal for the setting up of an East Midlands Drug Analysis Facility, Scientific Support Re-structure and capital purchases
- Led an Expert Network of Fingerprint Experts, Trainers, CAST, CPS, Forensic Regulator & suppliers on a scoping project investigating the application of likelihood ratios to Fingerprint Comparison
- Successfully managed complex employee relationships and diversity issues including competency and issues associated with change, re-structuring including redeployment and demotion, changes in reposnsibility, shift patterns, merging of units, career progression introduction, increase service portfolio, role changes etc.
Teaching, Training & Academic
Karen has a PgCE in Higher Education and was a Senior Lecturer and course Leader at the University of Teesside for all post graduate forensic related courses. She delivered teaching to undergraduate and post graduate students in Forensic Chemistry, Mark Recovery and Enhancement, Forensic Identification, Imaging and Forensic Management. She also designed and implemented 6 post graduate MSc Courses.
Karen is widely published in her field and has presented at a number of national and international conferences as seen in our publications section. She is a fully qualified L20 Assessor and is an exam marker for the AQA Examination Board. She is an Associated Lecturer for several universities, an external adviser, PhD Assessor, a peer reviewer of academic papers and has been a supervisor for a number of student research projects. Karen has been a of the Skills for Justice Occupational Committee, the QAA Forensic Science Benchmarking Group and the UK Forensic Science Education Group.
Karen has also negotiated and implemented formal partnerships between businesses, Police Forces and universities to ensure performance improvement and contingency planning.
Quality and Performance
Karen is a qualified and experienced L20 Assessor and Technical Assessor for the ISO17025 quality standard and has researched and managed performance and quality for over 26 years. Karen was a member of the ACPO Performance & Standards Group, the Skills for Justice Fingerprint Laboratories NOS Board and the chair of Derbyshire Constabulary's Forensic Steering & Performance and ISO Management Meetings. Her achievements include;
- Changing the face of Police in-house laboratory service delivery and performance within the UK through a Home Office funded research project, the recommendations from which were adopted by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO)
- Being the work-stream lead for Custody Forensic Sampling for the ACPO Forensic Science & Innovation Group
- Led the team that introduced the first fully operational Glove Mark Database within the UK
Led the first team outside the Metropolitan Police Force to gain ISO17025 accreditation
Led a team to obtain ISO9001 across a full police in-house forensic service range
- Led the Scientific Support team which topped the NPIA performance list for DNA and Fingerprint attrition for the years 2007 to 2010
Reviewed and managed forensic supplier performance/ service delivery for 5 Police Forces
- Implemented a Quality and Performance Unit with Derbyshire Scientific Support
- Introduced a life long learning and competency assessment regime including assessment against National Occupational Standards, Dip Checking, Proficiency testing, annual assessments and CPD
- Led an Expert Network to produce a Laboratory Technician role profile with Skills for Justice
Led a 2 force project funded by the Forensic Regulator on CSI behaviours and characteristics
Assisted a number of organisations with respect to the ISO17025 quality standard
Forensic Focus Limited Win Place on another Training Framework
Cumbria County Council Learning & Development Framework
In May 2016 we won a place on yet another training procurement framework. The Cumbria County Council Learning & Development Framework consists of several Lots for the delivery of training to a number of County Council and Emergency Service customers. Forensic Focus Limited is eligible to bid for work in two Lots (Lot 4 = Fire and Rescue Services & Lot 8 = Finance, HR and Law) each consisting of a number of subject areas which lend themselves to our specialist skills.
Proficiency Testing Accreditation Extended
In April 2016 Forensic Focus successfully extended the scope of their ISO17043 Proficiency Testing Accreditation. Our FMAT Finger Mark Visualisation PT Scheme is now accredited for Powder Suspensions, Physical Developer and Acid Dyes (Blood Dyes) as well as the previously accredited DFO, Ninhydrin, Superglue, BY40 and light sources.
Forensic Focus Limited in Partnership with Policing Matters Limited Win another Major Contract
In partnership with Policing Matters Limited, Forensic Focus Limited as the lead organisation has been awarded a place on a UK wide Framework for the provision of Leadership Development Services. The Framework hosted by Devon & Cornwall Police, will run for 4 years and can be used by the Police Service and all other Emergency Services.
With 300 suppliers originally expressing an interest in joining the Framework, we are pleased to announce that we have been awarded places on 4 of the 6 Framework Lots as follows;
LOT 1 – Executive Leadership Programme
LOT 2 – Executive Development Programme (Individual)
LOT 4 – Leadership Team Development (Executive & Middle Management)
LOT 6 – Specialist Support for Learning Programmes
More details can be found by clicking here.
Police Service and other Emergency Services can obtain more information from the Blue Light Procurement Database https://www.blpd.gov.uk or through Contracts Finder https://sid4gov.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/login
If you wish to procure any of the above services you can do so without the need for further competitive tendering by contacting us at Forensic Focus Limited. Engagement of services from the allocated Lots can be by call-off or through undertaking a mini-competition.
All enquiries regarding the Framework and the services we offer should be directed to Dr Karen Stow at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 07816 168759.
Please also feel free to find out more about our partner organisation by visiting www.policingmatters.co.uk
Forensic Focus Limited Gain ISO17043 Accreditation for Proficiency Testing
On 1st October 2014 Forensic Focus Limited was awarded ISO17043 accreditation for the provision of Proficiency Testing for finger and palm mark enhancement / visualisation using DFO, Ninhydrin, Superglue, Basic Yellow 40 (BY40) and Light Sources.
We would like to thank those at Nottingham Trent University who helped to make this possible.
For more information about our Proficiency Test Schemes please click the following link.
Contact and Appointments
Please contact us on the following phone number with any questions or to make an appointment:
or if calling us from overseas: +44 07816 168759
Please also use our contact form.