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National Says Toughen Up DNA Rules

8 April 2002

National is calling on the Government to harden the legislation dealing with DNA testing to include all convicted offenders, not just burglary suspects and a handful of convicted hardcore criminals.

"A DNA sample is the modern fingerprint. The Justice Minister shouldn't be advocating special rules around DNA testing when standard fingerprinting has been in use for decades," says National's Justice spokesperson, Wayne Mapp.

"All people arrested should be required to provide DNA samples and those acquitted would have the sample destroyed. It's a known fact that many offenders who have spent time in prison reoffend, so mandatory DNA testing would be a big help for police in their fight against crime.

"DNA testing is designed to do the same thing as fingerprinting - to identify offenders - but it also excludes people as suspects. It is a win-win situation.

"This shouldn't be a big concern for civil libertarians because DNA samples would simply be gathered for identification purposes. It would be no more intrusive than fingerprinting.

"Of course, the reason the Government's moved on this issue is because of National MP Tony Ryall's Members Bill to give police new powers to take compulsory DNA samples from burglary suspects," says Dr Mapp.


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