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DNA bill gives more power to police

DNA bill gives more power to police

The MP for Rakaia and Law & Order select committee member, Brian Connell, says police are finally getting the tools they need, as Parliament debates the Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples) Amendment Bill.

The Bill will allow an extensive DNA database to be maintained and will broaden the range of offences for which DNA samples may be collected.

"My only regret is that this initiative hasn't gone far enough," says Mr Connell. "The crime rate would shrink if all suspects supplied samples on arrest, but Labour has ignored the detailed recommendations of the Police Association and watered it down.

"Burglaries and similar crimes we'll be sampling are gateway crimes. Many of our most vicious offenders start out with burglary, property offences and the like.

"Jules Mikus, for example, had a string of burglary offences in his past. If we can put even one Jules Mikus away, we'll have done something right.

"Police will have a much larger DNA database to cross-match crime scene samples, giving them a better chance of locating offenders."

Mr Connell says it's estimated the crime-solving rate could improve by more than 50% if there was wider testing.

"The accuracy of modern testing is phenomenal and it's a simple, non-invasive procedure. All it takes is what's called a Buccal swab, a quick touch of the gums or cheek lining with a cotton swab.

"From then on, if the offender commits a crime, police have a head-start on identifying and catching them before they graduate to worse crimes," says Mr Connell.

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