Using DNA in Criminal Investigations

Publication Date 
02 March 2017

DNA in criminal investigationsWhen police first started using DNA to solve crimes it could tell them just one thing: whether the DNA they found at a crime scene matched the DNA profile of a person whose sample they took.  But the science has improved a lot since then.

As DNA technology develops, ESR scientists that assist Police could learn much more from a DNA sample left at a crime scene than ESR could before. 

While a DNA sample can currently be analysed to tell you the likely ethnicity of the person it came from, there is technology that in the future could indicate the hair and eye colour of the person, or even their age, and theoretically could identify whether the person suffers from a genetic disease.

Law Commissioner Hon Wayne Mapp says that the additional information that will be available from analysis of DNA in the future raises interesting questions on how much of that information should be available to Police.

The Commission is reviewing the Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples) Act 1995 which governs how the police and scientists use DNA for criminal investigation and prosecution.

Wayne Mapp says the Commission will be researching and meeting with experts and scientists over the next few months before talking to the public later.