Police no longer require a court order to take DNA samples from those suspected of an indictable offence thanks to legislative changes which boost police power.
The legislative changes came into effect earlier this month and are expected to increase the number of DNA samples taken by officers and uploaded to the National Criminal Investigation DNA Database to assist in identifying offenders more quickly.
Indictable offences can range from theft, causing injury and drug offences to more serious matters such as rape, armed robbery, murder and treason.
Prior to the changes, police needed a court order to take DNA samples from certain suspects and offenders, including those suspected of committing an indictable offence. However, the new powers enable police to take DNA samples as a standalone class of forensic sample, similar to a fingerprint.
With the changes to section 464 of the Crimes Act 1958, police are able to obtain a DNA profile sample from individuals over the age of 15 who are suspected of certain offences with their consent, or the consent of a senior officer.
It’s also expected the legislative changes will help police crack thousands of unsolved crimes, as there were more than 55,000 crime scene DNA profiles held by police in March which did not match any person’s profile.
Maryborough Police Sergeant Ben McCauley said the new powers are “definitely” a step in the right direction for police.
“Having a large number of people on the database allows us to link offenders to incidents that have occurred where we’ve obtained forensic evidence from the crime scene,” he said.
For more on this story see Page 3 of The Advertiser, Friday, July 19