INDEPENDENT NEWS

Police Denial Ducks DNA Issue

Published: Fri 8 Oct 2004 08:08 PM
Police Denial Ducks DNA Issue
Friday 8 Oct 2004
Stephen Franks
Press Releases -- Crime & Justice
Today's North Shore Police statement does not rebut concerns that an arbitrary police budget cap is allowing guilty criminals to escape detection, ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.
"New Zealand's DNA database has around one percent of the population profiled - compared with the UK figure of three percent," Mr Franks said.
"The police make very good use of that database, with a hit rate of over 50 percent in unsolved crime sample matches. It helps that the police know most bad families and sampling is, therefore, well targeted. Nevertheless, it would be easier if our database had numbers equivalent to the UK rate.
"If DNA were treated as it should be - as the modern fingerprint - our database would be substantially larger, while still confined to convicted criminals. It would catch even more criminals.
"But there seems to have been a decision that our database will never catch up. Our 12 police district commanders are hamstrung by a cap and, combined, can only add just over 1,000 samples per month. At that rate, our database will take more than seven years to reach even the current UK level.
"The police previously had targets to encourage additions to the database. Now they have a budget cap to penalise unwanted numbers. It is hard to understand why.
"The rate could be trebled for less than the cost of our Human Rights Commission's Treaty propaganda project. Showing criminals that they're sure to be caught would do more for community trust and race relations than any amount of human rights culture training.
"Police Minister George Hawkins must explain immediately exactly why the budget for DNA profiling has been capped," Mr Franks said.
ENDS
For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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