CNA Explains: Why the police want to collect more DNA and how it will be safeguarded

CNA Explains: Why the police want to collect more DNA and how it will be safeguarded

Why do the police need a lot more DNA?

MHA said DNA information is an useful tool for crime-solving, and that a larger GENETICS database would be more effective for comparing examples from crime scenes.

The police previously told CNA that DNA has assisted it solve main crimes quicker. A larger DNA database would certainly also deter more would-be criminals, said Superintendent of Law enforcement Roy Lim, head of the Special Investigation Section.

With out closed-circuit television digital camera footage or eyewitness accounts, DNA gets even more crucial in proving or disproving an accused person’s version of activities.

What if I choose not to give the DNA?

Presently, it is not an offence for someone caught for a registrable crime to refuse to give his blood sample pertaining to DNA without great cause, although the courts could take a negative inference on him during proceedings.

However , the Costs now makes it a good offence to refuse to give a blood sample just for DNA, aligning it with current law that states it is an offence for your person to drop to have his photos and fingerprints used without reasonable reason.

The fines for both offences are the same: Those found guilty could be jailed up to a month, fined a maximum of S$1, 000, or both.

Where will my GENETICS go?

GENETICS collected by the police is stored in a database. Launched in 2004, the database is owned by police and operate by the Health Sciences Authority, which assists law enforcement agencies examine evidence for GENETICS.

The police may use the DNA database to determine whether GENETICS recovered from a criminal offense scene matches someone in the system.

The database also stores DNA evidence from previous crime scenes, allowing the authorities to solve cold instances when a matching profile enters the system in the future.

The Bill will also allow the law enforcement to share DNA of these convicted of a registrable crime with international law enforcement agencies, if they assess this to be necessary for investigations or proceedings.

“The amendments will also improve international cooperation in the prevention and investigation of crimes, ” MHA said.

What about security plus privacy concerns?

MHA said it is going to introduce legislative shields to protect the information documented in the various directories against any reduction, modification and unauthorised access. There will become a tamper-proof audit trail to identify any data customization.  

“These measures will safeguard and prevent the improper use of such sensitive data. Officers who else misuse their powers will be dealt with significantly, ” the ministry said.

International law enforcement agencies that will get DNA through Singapore police will be required to provide an commencing to safe maintain the data, limit the uses and kill the information upon conclusion of its use.

How long will our DNA stay in the particular database?

In case investigations find that you had been ultimately not involved in committing a registrable or eligible crime, your information will automatically be removed.

If you were billed and convicted of the crime, your information will simply be removed after you die or strike the ripe regarding 100.

This gets a bit difficult if you were acquitted, compounded or given a discharge amounting to acquittal from the offence. Under current law, your data will certainly automatically be eliminated. However , the Bill now requires a person under these conditions to apply to have their own data removed.

Police will adhere to this request except if it decides the data is relevant to ongoing prosecutions or investigations, or in the event that retention of the data is necessary to safeguard Singapore’s national security.

An individual whose program is rejected may appeal to a critiquing tribunal, comprising an area judge or magistrate, within 30 days of the police’s decision. The tribunal’s decision will be final.

But there is a caveat: In case a person is acquitted of offences under the Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Act or the Internal Security Act, the particular Minister for Home Matters could issue the certificate if he or she deems that retaining the data is in the interest of national protection.

The reviewing tribunal must after that dismiss the appeal if the police existing this certificate.

Can I give our DNA even if We are not involved in police investigations?

Below current law, only people who were existing at the crime picture or questioned within investigations can under your own accord provide their GENETICS.

The Bill will now allow anybody to provide their DNA voluntarily to the police. Volunteers can also demand the police to delete their information at any time, and the police must comply with their demand.