Finland

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Overview

Finland established its national DNA database in 1999. It contains the DNA profiles of convicted persons serving a prison sentence of 3 years or more, suspects charged of a crime that could lead to a prison sentence of 6 months or more, and all crime scene stains. Finnish permits the forcible taking of a genetic sample from any person suspected of a crime punishable by not less than six months’ imprisonment. Convicted persons’ profiles are kept for ten years after the death of the convicted person, suspects’ profiles are deleted within one year of a prosecutorial determination that there is no evidence of an offence, charges have been dismissed, when their sentence has been nullified, or ten years after the suspects death if not removed earlier; crime scene stains are kept indefinitely. Convicted persons’ samples must be destroyed ten years after their death, suspects’ samples must be destroyed within one year of a prosecutorial determination that there is no evidence of an offence, charges have been dismissed, when their sentence has been nullified, or ten years after the suspects death if not removed earlier.

A 2008 Interpol survey reports that 9,517 crime scene DNA profiles and 68,030 individuals' profiles were held in Finland at the time of the survey. According to Interpol, Finland's DNA database grew to 12,593 crime scene DNA profiles and 107,879 reference DNA profiles from individuals in 2011. A DNA database legislation had been adopted at that time.

Resources

  • Press articles

Detailed Analysis

I. Law on Point[1],[2]

Coercive Measures Act[3]

Police Act[4]

Police Personal Data File Act[5]

II. Entry Criteria

Convicted persons serving a prison sentence of 3 years or more, suspects charged of a crime that could lead to a prison sentence of 6 months or more, and all crime scene stains[6]

Finish law directs that the DNA profiles of persons suspected of crimes punishable by not less than six months’ imprisonment may be entered onto the national DNA database. Further, the DNA profiles of persons convicted of crimes punishable by no fewer than three years’ incarceration or persons undergoing coerced treatment for a mental disorder may be lawfully placed on the database.[7] The law is silent on entry of profiles derived from unidentified crime scene stains and current practice is to include said profiles on the national DNA database for comparative purposes.[8]

III. Sample Collection

The Coercive Measure Act permits the forcible taking of a genetic sample from any person suspected of a crime punishable by not less than six months’ imprisonment. Law No. 851 of 29 September 2006 amending the Coercive Measure Act allows for the coercive taking of genetic sample from individuals convicted of crimes punishable by at least three years’ incarceration.[9] DNA samples which are found at crime scenes can also be collected. Finish law also permits the taking of genetic samples from a minor when deemed necessary for any criminal investigation. Profiles derived from these samples, however, cannot be entered into the database.[10] The police further empowered to collect genetic samples from mentally ill persons who are suspected or convicted of any crime.

IV. Removal Criteria

Convicted persons’ profiles are kept for ten years after the death of the convicted person, suspects’ profiles are deleted within one year of a prosecutorial determination that there is no evidence of an offence, charges have been dismissed, when their sentence has been nullified, or ten years after the suspects death if not removed earlier; crime scene stains are kept indefinitely[11],[12]

V. Sample Retention

Convicted persons’ samples must be destroyed ten years after their death, suspects’ samples must be destroyed within one year of a prosecutorial determination that there is no evidence of an offence, charges have been dismissed, when their sentence has been nullified, or ten years after the suspects death if not removed earlier[13]

VI. Database Access

The custodian of the Finnish National DNA database is the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Crime Laboratory.[14] The database managers and the reporting scientists have access to the DNA profiles themselves, information regarding the underlying criminal cases and the names and social security codes of the included persons. Finland exchanges its DNA profiles through Interpol. The Finnish DNA database is based on the CODIS architecture. The CODIS software is provided by FBI. The CODIS system does not include any personal/additional information on the profiles in the system, but that kind of information is included in any other database.

References

  1. E.U. 9445/1/06 at 6.
  2. Law No. 450 of 30 April 1987, Ch. 6, § 5, as amended by Law No. 1098 of 8 December 2006, provides in pertinent part: A suspect may be subjected to a bodily search for the purposes of analyzing his/her DNA profile when the maximum punishment provided for the offence is imprisonment for at least six months. In order to conduct the duties referred to in section 1, paragraph 1 in the Police Act (493/1995), a DNA profile may be recorded in a police personal data file. A DNA profile containing information on the data subject personal characteristics other than sex shall not be recorded in a police personal data file. Provisions on the erasure of DNA profiles from a data file are included in the Police Personal Data File Act, No. 761 of 22 August 2003, § 22(9a), as amended by Law No. 529 of 15 July 2005, entitled “Erasure of DNA-profiles from a Police Personal Data File,” provides in relevant part: A DNA-profile recorded in a police personal data file on the basis of Coercive Measures Act, Chapter 6, Section 5 shall be erased from a file one year after since the controller of the file has received information on the decision made by a prosecutor stating that it is not a question of an offence or there is no evidence of an offence or the fact that the charge pressed against the data subject has been dismissed by a legally valid judgment or the punishment has been nullified. If the profile has not been erased earlier, it shall be erased after 10 years of the death of data subject. The stored samples will be destroyed at the same time when the corresponding DNA-profiles are erased.
  3. Law No. 450 of 30 April 1987, as amended by Law No. 646 of 27 May 2003 and Law No. 1098 of 8 December 2006, Ch. 5, §§ 11, 12, and Ch. 6, § 5 (Fin.).
  4. Law No. 493 of 7 April 1995, § 1.
  5. Law No. 761 of 22 August 2003, as amended by Law No. 529 of 15 July 2005 and Law No. 851 of 29 September 2006, §§ 2(9) & 22(9a) (Fin.)
  6. See EU Current Practices at 46-47.
  7. See supra notes 90 and 93 and accompanying text.
  8. See EU Current Practices at 46-47.
  9. See supra note 91 and accompanying text.
  10. See supra note 93, § 22(9a), ¶ 2, ¶ 2(1) to (3).
  11. See EU Current Practices at 47.
  12. See supra note 93.
  13. See EU Current Practices at 47.
  14. The DNA Database is a part of a national police database covering personal data of persons suspected and/or convicted of crimes. The Ministry of the Interior is responsible of the database.