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DNA database now holds 67,342 samples

09 Jun 2021 / policing Print

DNA database now holds 67,342 samples

A total of 67,342 DNA samples have been uploaded to the national DNA database since its launch in November 2015.

The Department of Justice has confirmed the figure to the Sunday Independent that, over the same period, 25,304 profiles were removed and destroyed.

There are now 42,038 samples on the database, of which 38,990 are of criminal suspects.

The Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence and DNA Database System) Act 2014 set out the parameters for the database, and stated that any prisoner serving a sentence of five years or more is required by law to provide a sample.

Up to 450 jailed sex offenders are also compelled to provide a DNA sample, along with a further 1,500 listed on the sex offenders’ register. 

In addition, 2,000 rapists and paedophiles are obliged to submit DNA for indefinite storage.

489 missing samples

Meanwhile, late last year, it emerged that almost 4,500 DNA samples had been lost from the database.

A probe, led by assistant commissioner John O’Driscoll, identified all but 489 missing samples.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris admitted to the Policing Authority that there were 234 individuals that the force did not hold samples on, which should have been included in the database. 

Audit ordered

Appearing before the Policing Authority last November, following an audit ordered last September, Mr Harris was asked if prosecutions could be affected.

He answered that there was a risk that those missing from the files could have engaged in crimes for which there was an unidentified DNA sample within the forensic science laboratories. However, he said that this was a small risk, given that DNA is very rarely used as the sole means of detection.

Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll said that analyses had identified 34 cases where a sample had been missing and a person had not been prosecuted.

“We’re going into those cases to see what the significance of the DNA sample was in the individual case,” the assistant commissioner said.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland