In the last 5 years, a number of European countries have successfully introduced national databases holding the DNA profiles from suspected and convicted criminal offenders as well as from biological stain materials from unsolved crime cases. At present, DNA databases are fully or partially in operation in the UK, The Netherlands, Austria, Germany, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland and Sweden. Furthermore, in the other European countries, specific legislation will be enacted soon, or the introduction of such databases is being discussed to initiate a legislative process. Numerous differences exist regarding the criteria for a criminal offender to be included in the database, the storage periods and the possibility to remove database records, the possibility to keep reference samples from the offenders as long as their respective records are being held, and the role of judges in the process of entering a database record or to perform a database search. Nevertheless, harmonization has been achieved regarding the DNA information stored in national databases, and a European standard set of genetic systems has been recommended which is included either in part or completely in the DNA profiles of offenders and crime stains for all European databases. This facilitates the exchange of information from database records to allow the investigation of crime cases across national borders.
Forensic Science International – Elsevier
Published: Jun 15, 2001
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