THE CONTEXT within which DNA evidence is collected and used needs to be revisited, according to Simon Walsh, forensic expert at the University of Technology, Sydney.
Walsh said the operational strategies, regarding whether DNA is used as intelligence or evidence, should be considered in order to create greater efficiency and workability between the police and the scientific laboratories. He said the process of gathering DNA evidence and its interpretation was “quite robust”. But if DNA was to be used as intelligence, which could be very beneficial for investigations, the system would need work.
“There are isolated examples where the DNA database does … provide for the police what could be referred to as intelligence, information that they can use to direct their investigation,” Walsh said. “But that happens more on an isolated case by case basis not as a result of a system that’s really set up to make it happen.”
However, there are already pressures on the system such as backlogs and heavy work demands on the scientist that would have to be addressed if it was to extend its reach, he said.