Professor James Fraser

Research Professor

Pure and Applied Chemistry


Personal statement

Professor of forensic science, Associate Director of the Scottish Institute for Policing Research and a Past President of the Forensic Science Society.  He has extensive experience as an expert witness in criminal courts in the UK and has been involved in many high profile cases (e.g. Damilola Taylor, Rachel Nickell, Shirley McKie) as an expert witness, reviewer or adviser.  Jim also has significant experience in strategic and policy matters in relation to forensic science in the UK and internationally.  He has advised a range of agencies on forensic, scientific and investigative matters, including the police organisations in the UK and abroad, the Home Office, the Scottish Parliament and the UK Parliament. 

Jim is a council member of JUSTICE Scotland; Chair of the United Kingdom Accreditation Service Forensic Science Technical Advisory Committee,  a member of the Forensic Science Regulator’s Fingerprint Specialist Group and former Chair of the Digital Forensics Specialist Group. His teaching and research interests focus primarily on the role of science and technology in criminal justice.  He is the co-editor (with Robin Williams) of the Handbook of Forensic Science (Willan) and author of Forensic Science a Very Short introduction (OUP). 

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Professional Activities

Forensic Horizons 2013
Keynote/plenary speaker
Forensic Horizons 2013
Keynote/plenary speaker
Visiting researcher
JUSTICE Scotland (External organisation)
Elsevier Science (Publisher)
Fingerprints - a road map for reform 2

More professional activities


The influence of occupational culture on forensic science use in the Scottish Crime Campus
Fraser, Jim (Principal Investigator)
The aim of the project is to understand how the professional cultures, perceptions, practices and knowledge of the different agencies involved in the Forensic Gateway impact on the effectiveness and ongoing development of the Gateway.
01-Jan-2015 - 18-Jan-2015
Evaluation of the National Forensic Science Gateway
Fraser, Jim (Principal Investigator)
One of the primary aims of the creation of the Scottish Crime Campus at Gartcosh, was the integration of criminal justice agencies in order to improve service provision on a national scale. Currently, a key area for consideration is more effective and efficient provision of forensic science to the Scottish criminal justice system. To address this issue, a central hub for allocation of resources and prioritisation of forensic work is being implemented introducing multi-agency decision making– the Forensic Gateway. ‘The National [forensic] Gateway will focus on delivering the most effective utilisation of Forensic Science to deliver the strategic requirements of Police Scotland and COPFS.’ Given that this approach is a significant departure from previous practices, there is an agreement on the part of the main stakeholders, that a formal evaluation is essential, to assess the effectiveness of the Gateway. This proposal aims to deliver this evaluation.
01-Jan-2015 - 30-Jan-2015
Homicide Investigation and Forensic Science: Tracing Processes, Analysing Practices
Fraser, Jim (Principal Investigator)
05-Jan-2015 - 04-Jan-2018
Homicide Investigation and Forensic Science: Tracing Processes, Analysing Practices
Fraser, Jim (Co-investigator)
Assertions of the increasing importance of science and technology to the security and policing of contemporary
society have been the subject of widespread academic commentary, including studies of systems of surveillance
(e.g. Zuriek & Salter, 2005; Lyon, 2006) and of the introduction of new technologies for risk management (e.g.
Ericson & Haggerty, 1997; Williams & Johnson, 2008). This historical development has been described as the
‘scientification’ (Ericson & Shearing, 1986), or the ‘technification’ (Nogala, 1995) of police work, and is a
phenomenon which exemplifies a wider assumption that science and technology have the power to settle
intractable social issues, including those of security and social order (Geertz, 1983).
Forensic science constitutes a subset of these scientific and technological applications. Recent work has drawn
attention to variations in the disciplinary foundations of different domains of forensic science (e.g. National
Research Council, 2009), the potential problems of ‘reliance on science’ for criminal justice (e.g. Garrett, 2011),
01-Jan-2015 - 30-Jan-2017
Fraser, Jim (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2006 - 30-Jan-2008
Isotope Profiling of Drugs: A Tool to Disrupt Organised Crime, Detect Serious Crime and Reduce Volume Crime
Nic Daeid, Niamh (Principal Investigator) Fraser, Jim (Co-investigator)
This project supported the development of IRMS as a supportive measure for use in the determination of synthetic route linkage between MDMA samples.
01-Jan-2006 - 31-Jan-2009

More projects

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Professor James Fraser
Research Professor
Pure and Applied Chemistry

Tel: 548 2069