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The criminal justice system in The Netherlands is facing the challenge of having to correctly identify an increasing number of new illicit drugs. To provide accurate and valuable chemical information in criminal investigations, provide intelligence on the production of illicit drugs and offer options for rapid and robust chemical field analysis of drug samples, the forensic experts of the Amsterdam Police and scientists of the HIMS Institute of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) have started a collaboration. The collaboration will officially start on the 1 January 2019.

Photo: Amsterdam Police

Ruben Kranenburg, analytical chemist and coordinator of the laboratory for illicit drug analysis of the Amsterdam Police, will be appointed as PhD student in a 4 year project to develop new methods and techniques for the chemical characterization of illicit drugs. The project will be executed in the research group of Arian van Asten, professor in Forensic Analytical Chemistry and On-scene Chemical Analysis at the UvA and co-director of the Co van Ledden Hulsebosch Center (CLHC). Kranenburg will combine his PhD research with his regular job with the Amsterdam Police. 

Agreement between HIMS and Amsterdam Police
On December 5th, Marcel Bartels (institute manager HIMS), Bart Gietema (head of the forensic specialist unit of the Amsterdam police), Ruben Kranenburg and Arian van Asten signed the agreement that formalized the collaboration. Photo: Peter Nijsen.

Special internships for students

As part of the collaboration special internships in the police laboratory will become available for students in the UvA Master’s programme in Forensic Science. Additionally, literature thesis assignments will be linked to the project. The initiative is part of national policy of the Dutch police to increase its capacity for innovation and promote the scientific development of its employees. This project may lead to a broader collaboration in forensic science and education between the Amsterdam Police and the UvA.

Van Ledden Hulsebosch

The CLHC is named after forensic pioneer and Amsterdam pharmacist Co van Ledden Hulsebosch. The Amsterdam police appointed him forensic scientist in 1920 and he established the first forensic police laboratory in Amsterdam.