Crime scene investigators will get a major boost in the use of DNA evidence found at crime scenes.

The Forensic Science Laboratory is acquiring new technology which will be used in identifying and prosecuting criminals.

The Department of Justice and Equality has started a tendering process aimed at getting the latest scientific technology to aid detectives in their battle against crime.

EVIDENCE

In a move mirroring the popular CSI TV show, forensic experts are seeking automated capabilities for the extraction of DNA evidence from items as small as cigarette butts, swabs, mini-tapes and fabrics for use in identifying criminals.

In advertising for the new equipment, officials stated: “The Forensic Science Laboratory is looking to develop a mutually beneficial agreement ensuring consistent supply of DNA extraction chemistry for a four-year period. The current crime stain sample throughput the laboratory approximates 10,000, however, this is expected to double upon enactment of DNA database legislation.”

Justice Minister Alan Shatter has promised to promote the development of a DNA database. The Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence and DNA Database System Bill), which will provide the legal basis for the DNA database is expected to be published mid-year.

Once enacted, the legislative basis for establishing and running an operational DNA database will exist.

A spokesman said: “The Forensic Science Laboratory already routinely does DNA testing for the Garda Siochana and has established sophisticated scientific expertise in this area.

“Pending the enactment of the legislation, the FSL is proceeding with the process of putting in place the necessary software systems on which the DNA database system will sit.”

Mr Shatter believes progress on developing DNA capabilities should have been faster.

The Forensic Science Laboratory will be bringing in the necessary software systems to operate the DNA database.

Alan O’Keefe , The Herald

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