National DNA database completed

Police use system to solve past and present crime

Australia’s national DNA database has been completed allowing forensic data, previously separated by state boundaries, to be shared between law enforcement agencies.

Information on advanced biometrics, DNA, persons-of-interest and even cold-cases is centrally stored in the National Criminal Investigation DNA Database (NCIDD) and accessible by police officers and forensic scientists in the laboratory and in the field. Police can upload and cross-reference fingerprint scans using portable scanners to the database, which also includes facial recognition, deep palm and iris reading, and identity searching and matching.

The system, some eight years in the making, is now available to the country’s nine law enforcement jurisdictions. CrimTrac CEO, Ben McDevitt, said the final step was activating 36 combinations, which allow NSW to match details with the Northern Territory. The federal agency brokers the information between participating agencies.

“Full usage of the national DNA database will result in police matching more unknown DNA profiles left at crime scenes with people throughout Australia and assist in solving serious cases where there may be few other leads,” he said. “If someone was to commit a serious crime in one jurisdiction, leaving his or her own DNA at the crime scene, and then move to another jurisdiction, where the person carried out another crime which led to their arrest and their DNA being taken, there would be two law enforcement agencies with that person’s DNA profile and a link between the two cases would inevitably occur.”

The database can be used to link current crimes with cold-cases, track missing persons and identifying deceased.

CrimTrac was established under an inter-governmental agreement between federal and state police ministers to deliver four systems to facilitate national information sharing for police.

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