DNA taken from 49 suspects

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 July, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 July, 2001, 12:00am

Police have taken DNA samples from 49 suspects involved in kidnapping, murders and other serious crimes since a new law on genetic evidence came into effect on July 1.

Fifty-seven officers have been trained to collect and handle samples under the law which gives police the right to take them from suspects in serious crimes.

Police say 49 male suspects in 34 cases have had DNA samples taken since July 1. Officers have also collected samples from 13 crime scenes.

'These suspects have been arrested in connection with murders, rape, kidnapping, robbery, burglary and theft of vehicles,' a police spokesman said, declining to disclose specific cases.

'By a relatively simple process, crime suspects can provide a control sample of their DNA. By comparison with traces of DNA from the scenes of crime or on the bodies of victims of crime the samples can provide investigators with virtually irrefutable evidence of the suspect's involvement or lack of it.'

The spokesman said it would take 22 days for the Government laboratory to complete a DNA test.

The DNA database would be locked up in the laboratory and be accessible only to its staff who refer to the samples by codes rather than a person's identity.

The database is modelled on the same type of technology used by the FBI.