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Scenes of Crime Elimination DNA Samples (05/13)

The issue of possible secondary use of members’ DNA samples was raised at the Police Association Executive table.

As a result, the Association has sought legal advice on the possibility of 3rd party access to “Scenes of Crime Elimination” DNA samples provided by members in the course of their duties.

The preliminary advice we have received, in answer to the query of whether voluntarily supplied DNA samples could be accessed by any party outside the Victoria Police Force, is as follows:

Samples that have been voluntarily supplied by members, on the basis of eliminating the member from crime scene (contamination), could potentially be obtained by a 3rd party, as a result of a warrant, subpoena or other order of a court. This could potentially occur regardless of any verbal or written agreement between the force and members.

There are means by which that can be prevented, but more legal work is required to identify those specific means. At this, preliminary, stage it appears that the best of those methods may be through legislated protection.

The Association has been in contact with the Chief Commissioner on the issue and he has agreed to work closely with us to review the current system in order to pursue the protection of members and achieve a satisfactory outcome for all concerned.

We have also raised the matter with the Minister for Police & Emergency Services and have now written to him in a formal sense seeking Government assistance, including protection for samples already provided.

We are now seeking full and complete legal advice on the matter but, in the meantime, The Association advises all members that they should no longer provide voluntary samples of DNA, even for the purposes of elimination from scenes of crime, until the issue is satisfactorily resolved.




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