SCOTLAND'S new national force will have to deal with thousands of outstanding fingerprinting and DNA checks from the country's eight existing forces.

Data from the Scottish Police Services Authority's Forensic Service shows more than 3200 cases were waiting to be processed in December 2012.

It follows a 10% cut in staff at the authority, which will be replaced by the Scottish Police Authority with the introduction of the new force on April 1.

SPSA officials claimed the caseload was "manageable" but politicians warned it could leave victims of serious crime facing an agonising wait for justice.

Scottish Conservatives chief whip John Lamont said: "We know there have been changes in fingerprints and shift patterns have been stripped down. That means there is less cover and fingerprints are taking longer to process. All of this results in a shoddy service for victims."

Labour justice spokesman Lewis MacDonald added the figure was "hardly surprising" given the staff cuts.

The SPSA said its caseload was down from 4014 in December 2011 and more than half what it was at the same point in 2007.

A spokeswoman added that the authority had been working on improving turnaround time for cases. In 2007, just 10% of criminal DNA samples were processed and placed on the DNA database within four days, compared to 96% now.

In fingerprints, 90% of cases are processed within 14 days, with 39% being completed in under five days and 21% in two days.

Tom Nelson, director of forensic services at the SPSA said: "Our customers want a resilient forensic science service that provides fast results."