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Statement in relation to human tissue samples

Dated: 14 Apr 2017 17:53 PM

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Northumbria Police would like to clarify a number of issues raised in relation to human tissue holdings.

T/Assistant Chief Constable Vanessa Jardine said : "We understand the gravity of this situation and the devastating affect it has had on the families involved.

The human tissue samples of cases that happened many years ago have been identified and we have specially trained officers contacting relatives of 26 people to inform them of this. We are doing this with the utmost sensitivity and it is our priority to make sure this is done as quickly and sympathetically as possible.

We have taken this matter incredibly seriously and since this came to light have worked tirelessly to identify and speak to the families of those affected and are doing all we can to answer the questions and concerns they have.

We fully recognise the importance of carefully managing the retention and storage of human tissue samples collected for investigative purposes to ensure they are obtained, and retained and disposed of, in line with the Human Tissue Act.

In 2006 a new law was introduced as result of such errors and we fully support this legislation and have instructions in place to prevent this from happening again.