Factors such as new knowledge and technologies have contributed to a rapid growth of the Forensic Sciences sector and, with this, to increase the possibilities of forensic laboratories. Currently, more traces or criminal traces are investigated and more information is extracted from less material. Through the application of the latest technological advances, specialists are able to analyze digital traces in numerous information supports, such as mobile phones, laptops, navigation systems, surveillance cameras, etc .; In addition, progress in the field of biometrics, especially in the study of DNA, makes it possible to analyze increasingly minute traces. These advances are playing a fundamental role in the investigation of crimes.
For all these reasons, there is a greater social awareness of the value, efficiency and potential of Forensic Sciences and the scope of their possibilities in criminal investigations. This is generating a growing demand for these professionals, specialized in the field of Forensic Sciences, to integrate into increasingly complex structures of empirical science and advanced technologies. The forensic investigation is gradually assuming a prominent role and is becoming an essential tool for the police services, national defense and other bodies responsible for maintaining justice, social order and security. In recent decades, Forensic Sciences are becoming a valuable tool in criminal investigations and intelligence.
All this requires forensic investigators to have a solid scientific basis, thus increasing the objectivity and reliability of their conclusions, with scientific foundations. This requires research, development and innovation in this field. Through empirical scientific research it is possible to strengthen the scientific basis of the different forensic disciplines. This has been reflected in the so-called NAS report (National Academy of Sciences of the USA) “Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States”, (2009) and recently, in the report prepared by the Netherlands Forensic Institute “Trends, challenges and strategy in the forensic science sector “(2013). These reports highlight the importance of R + D + i and explore scientific issues or apply new techniques or improve existing ones in the forensic field. In order to carry out research activities (both basic and applied), it is important to foster cooperation with universities and other collaborating entities to improve the scientific basis and objectivity of forensic investigations.
The proposal of this Doctorate in Forensic Sciences is justified for the following reasons:
To date, the doctoral degree in Forensic Sciences will be the only Official Doctorate Degree in Spain of these characteristics. It is important to note that this PhD is nurtured by the research staff involved in the Doctoral Program in Criminalistics offered by the University Institute of Research in Police Sciences of the University of Alcalá, as well as the doctorate in Forensic Sciences offered by the University of Murcia. Likewise, this doctorate provides continuity to the students of the Master in Police Sciences of the University Institute of Research in Police Sciences in the University of Alcalá and of the University Master in Forensic Sciences of the University of Murcia.
There is a current need to train researchers of excellence in the different areas of forensic science (forensic biology, forensic anthropology, forensic entomology, forensic chemistry, electronics and computer forensics, forensic linguistics, ballistics, etc.), to lead the transfer of knowledge generated towards the Courts of Justice and society as a whole, to make a significant contribution to the development of effective tools to combat crime, without forgetting the legal aspects in which such investigations are framed, which in turn need proposals for legislative reforms to adapt the use of new scientific and technological advances to criminal investigation, from the respect of fundamental rights and public liberties.
It is important to reinforce the work carried out by forensic laboratories, focused on the resolution of numerous forensic cases, increasingly complex, requiring scientific results that support the conclusions of their expert reports. The PDCFC is focused on training researchers of excellence, with the necessary competences to face with scientific rigor the different areas of this sector, improving the available tools and the level of performance in the forensic laboratories.