LGC forensics firm to cut 170 jobs
A forensics firm is axing up to 170 jobs after "unprecedented change" in the market, it has said.
LGC, which has worked on the cases of Rachel Nickell and Damilola Taylor, is based in Teddington, Middlesex, but has laboratories across the world.
The losses will come from the eight UK sites. Of the 200 posts in Culham, Oxfordshire, half are being reviewed.
Spokeswoman Guenaelle Holloway said LGC would be "streamlined and simplified" to make it more cost-effective.
LGC's turnover was £168m in 2011-2012, but following an increased workload after the announced closure of the Forensic Science Service in 2010, it says the market has "normalised".
Ms Holloway said: "The change programme will focus LGC on fewer specialist sites, creating bigger, more flexible teams; reshape our team structures to meet the skills mix required by changing customer needs; and reduce the total workforce by approximately 150-170 full-time employees.
"For those employees whose jobs may be at risk, this will be a difficult time.
"We will fully support them as we realign the business, and do our utmost to help them secure new positions.
"This change programme is a critical part of LGC's commitment to building a robust and market-leading business for the long term."
LGC employs 1,800 staff in 22 countries.
The firm, which is the largest forensic science service provider in the UK, has the statutory function of Government Chemist.
As such, it provides advice to government and industry, acting as the referee analyst in cases of dispute.
It has played the role for more than 100 years, and before privatisation in 1996 it was known as the Laboratory of the Government Chemist.
LGC's UK laboratories are in Culham, Leeds, Runcorn in Cheshire, St Neots in Cambridgeshire, Tamworth in Staffordshire, Teddington, Risley in Cheshire, and Wakefield in West Yorkshire.
Some employees have taken voluntary redundancy or agreed to be relocated to other premises. A 90-day consultation is being held.
LGC estimates the size of the forensics market, outside the work police do themselves, fell from roughly £155m in 2010 to £70-80m in 2012.
It recently worked on evidence for the trial of nine men accused of grooming and exploiting girls for sex in Oxford.
It also worked on the Vikki Thompson murder trial, in which Mark Weston became the first person to face a second murder trial after new DNA evidence came to light.
Away from crime, LGC also offers meat species testing, such as detecting the presence of horsemeat in food products.