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Audit finds North Wales Police kept body part ‘unnecessarily’ for years

HUNDREDS of body parts and organs have been kept by police forces for years after suspicious death cases were solved.

Force chiefs have apologised to grieving families after an audit revealed that 492 major organs and limbs dating back as far as 1960 had been preserved across Wales, England and Northern Ireland.

Among them was one body part still in the possession of North Wales Police.

The report from the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) said that investigators may have ‘wrongly assumed that the human tissue seized at the post-mortem examination had been disposed of by the medical profession or by some other means’.

Deputy Chief Constable Debbie Simpson, who led the ACPO audit, said there was ‘no nationally agreed policy to deal with such items at the conclusion of the investigation’.

When asked whether families were aware the tissue had been retained, Ms Simpson said ‘it may well be a case-by-case basis’.

She added: “The added trauma and upset which may have been caused to the families is difficult and we apologise for having to open up those issues for them.”

Police in neighbouring Cheshire Constabulary recorded eight ‘unnecessarily’ stored items.

A total of 13 forces said they did not hold any body parts. British Transport Police, which covers the whole country, including North Wales, held 25.