Denmark

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Overview

Denmark maintains a national DNA database, which is divided into an Individual Database and a Trace Database. As of 2010, the Individual Database contained 56,000 profiles and the Trace Database contained 34,000 profiles.[1] According to Interpol, Denmark's DNA database grew to 69,476 reference DNA profiles from individuals and 38,383 crime scene DNA profiles in 2011. The Individual Database contains the DNA profile of anyone formally charged with a crime punishable by more than one and a half years or with the dissemination of child pornography. Convicted persons’ profiles are kept until two years after their death or upon their reaching age eighty. The Trace Database contains DNA profiles derived from unidentified crime scene samples. In January 2012, opposition politicians in the Danish Parliament proposed the creation of a universal forensic DNA database, which would include DNA profiles from everyone living in Denmark.[2]

Resources

Detailed Analysis

I. Law on Point

Law Establishing a Central DNA Profile Register[3],[4]

II. Entry Criteria

Convicted persons, suspects charged with an offence that could lead to a prison sentence of 1½ years or more, or with the dissemination of child pornography[5], and all crime scene samples.[6]

Danish law places no restrictions on the entry of DNA profiles that are derived from unidentified crime scene stains or convicted offenders. Suspects’ DNA profiles may only be placed on the database when said person is formally charged with a crime that is punishable by not less than one and one half years imprisonment.

III. Sample Collection

Danish police are empowered to take DNA samples from unidentified crime scene stains, persons charged with serious crimes, and convicted offenders.

IV. Removal Criteria

Convicted persons’ profiles are kept until two years after their death or upon their reaching age eighty and crime scene stains are retained for the “prescribed term” of the case as determined by law.[7] Danish law only permits the removal of DNA profiles derived from unidentified crime scene stains upon the expiration of specific periods of time, depending on the underlying crime, specified by law.

V. Sample Retention

Samples follow fate of DNA profile[8]

Danish law is silent on the question of the retention or destruction of DNA samples. In most cases, the samples follow the fate of the DNA Profile derived therefrom.

VI. Database Access

The police, the prosecutor, the Ministry of Justice, members of the forensic department (University of Copenhagen) and the ombudsman of the parliament have access to all the relevant personal information that is connected to the various DNA profiles. The DNA profile information can be exchanged with other EU Member States through Interpol.


References

  1. 56.000 er registreret i dna-registret,” Kristeligt Dagblad 29 January 2010.
  2. Forslag til folketingsbeslutning om dna-registrering [Proposals for parliamentary resolution on DNA detection] 17 January 2012.
  3. Law Establishing a Central DNA Profile Register, Law No. 434 of 31 May 2000, as amended by § 1 of Law No. 369 of 24 may 2005 (applying rules governing the collection of fingerprints during criminal investigations, Retsplejeloven [Judicial Code], as amended and consolidated, Law No. 1063 of 17 November 2011, Ch. 79, to the collection of saliva samples for DNA analysis during criminal investigations), see also a prior draft containing a report and commentary on the DNA database as of 2005, Law No. 1559 of 20 December 2006, § 3 of Law No. 347 of 14 May 2008, § 1 of Law No. 479 of 17 June, 2008, Law No. 405 of 21 April 2010, and Law No. 715 of 25 June 2010; see also Decree No. 480 of 23 May 2011 (extending DNA database to Faroe Islands).
  4. Council of the European Union, Ad hoc Group on Information Exchange, DNA Databases to Assist with Criminal Investigations, at 6, E.U. Doc. No. 9445/3/06 (REV 3) (Jun. 16, 2006) (hereinafter “E.U. 9445/3/06”) (see also 9445/3/06 (REV 1) for an earlier but more complete copy).
  5. Straffeloven [Criminal Code], as amended and consolidated, Law No. 1062 of 17 November 2011, Ch. 24, § 235, para. 2.
  6. See EU Current Practices at 42.
  7. See EU Current Practices at 42-43.
  8. See EU Current Practices at 43.