The Calgary Police Service's forensic centre
Credits: LYLE ASPINALL/QMI AGENCY
Sites will be closed in Regina, Winnipeg and Halifax, over the next two to three years, while the remaining three - located in Vancouver, Edmonton and Ottawa - will remain open, RCMP said.
Mounties said the site closures won't cause a blacklog, despite the labs experiencing double the number of requests in recent years, as they have plans to streamline services to improve efficiency, and curb redundancy.
Acting RCMP Commissioner Peter Henshel, officer in charge of forensic science and identification services, said the closures will only enhance improvements made in recent years which have, for instance, seen routine DNA analysis go from about 140 to 44 days.
"In the longer term, this is going to even further improve upon progress we've made in the last two to three years," he said.
The labs -- which have seen requests from police agencies go from 3,800 to 6,600 in recent years -- do everything from analyzing biological samples, such as semen or blood, taken in investigations to toxicology testing, identifying counterfeits and toolmark identification.
Calgary police said they rely heavily on forensic testing to help investigate crimes ranging from homicides and sexual assaults to break-ins.
Staff Sgt. Brian Rayner said police have been assured that they will not be hindered by the site closures.
"The RCMP has said there will be no decrease or change in service and at this point we are taking them at their word."
Rayner said turn-around time in recent years has improved.
With a priority case, where a suspect might be at large and there is urgency to find them for instance, it can be 12 to 14 days -- about half the typical time.