The Australian Government has delivered new functionality to integrate with the National Criminal Investigation DNA Database to support law enforcement investigations.
The Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton said the new functionality will help police identify disaster victims and missing persons and create new leads in ongoing homicide investigations and major cold cases.
“The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s enhanced forensic software capability facilitates quick human identification, through a system which currently holds over one million Australian DNA profiles,” Mr Dutton said.
“System enhancements include kinship matching and familial searching.”
Kinship matching involves collecting DNA samples from consenting biological relatives then using the DNA profiles to determine family relationships, which reduces the time taken to investigate unidentified bodies and missing persons and providing for faster identification of disaster victims.
DNA profiles collected from a crime scene and entered onto the DNA database enable police to conduct familial searches—a deliberate search for a partial match to a profile already on the database.
Familial searches rely on the fact that a close relative of the perpetrator has an identifiable profile on the database. They are most likely to be used in serious crimes such as rape and homicide. Familial searches assist police to solve crimes, particularly in ongoing homicides and cold cases, where other investigative avenues have been exhausted.
Similar technologies used in the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Canada have led police to serial rapists and murderers who had long eluded detection and arrest through traditional methods of investigation.
“These enhanced capabilities will enable Australian police to prevent, detect and disrupt significant threats and to more readily identify both victims and offenders,” Mr Dutton said.
“The Government is investing in technology to enable our law enforcement agencies to serve and protect Australian communities.”