Plans were unveiled yesterday for a £16.2m forensic crime laboratory.

The purpose-built facility in Dundee will house a fingerprint examination unit and a DNA database.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill believes the new laboratory, together with another which will form part of the Gartcosh Crime Campus near Glasgow, will transform the provision of forensic services across Scotland.

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The Dundee announcement follows the setting up of the Scottish Police Services Authority (SPSA) in April last year. The body incorporates officer training, criminal records and forensic services.

The new centre, which will also house the biology and chemistry laboratories and scene examination unit, will be based at City Quay on the banks of the River Tay. It is scheduled for completion in early 2010, replacing the existing facility at Tayside Police headquarters which has around 80 staff.

Edinburgh has its own laboratory, and Mr MacAskill has asked the SPSA to review its proposed closure of its Aberdeen facility.

"SPSA's decision to invest in a much-needed new forensic laboratory at Dundee, together with the new laboratory which will form part of the Gartcosh Crime Campus will transform the provision of forensic services across Scotland to the benefit of the police and indeed the wider criminal justice system," said Mr MacAskill.

Tom Nelson, director of SPSA Forensic Services, said: "This new facility will allow us to develop a building that will support more effective ways of working from the start - rather than forcing our staff and equipment to work around the constraints of an existing building.

"After all, guilt and innocence for individuals may rest on those results."

Dundee City Council leader Kevin Keenan said: "The decision to locate this major new facility in Dundee is great news for the city. Our plans for the redevelopment of Dundee's central waterfront will be strengthened by this substantial investment."

Mr MacAskill asked SPSA to look again at the issues raised around the proposed closure of the Aberdeen forensic laboratory, and to engage in a fresh consultation process with all interested parties, including staff. This consultation is currently ongoing.

Grampian Joint Police Board have pledged to fight to stop the closure.

The Nelson Street laboratory provides support to Grampian Police and Northern Constabulary in forensic investigations. At present, Grampian Police have access to a rapid response service. However, the force would have to wait hours for scientists to travel from Dundee.