Thursday, October 31, 2013

Will enlarged DNA database help SA police in crime fight?

   Men of the South African police         (c) foxnews
Matching a human being’s distinct genetic blueprint, the person’s DNA, found on a crime scene, to a profile found on an extensive DNA database of offenders seems like a simple exercise these days. Done on almost every American cop show on television, and at law enforcement agencies in numerous countries around the world, it is hard to believe that it is not such an easy task in South Africa.
Not yet, anyway. Should the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Bill clear the final hurdle and receive President Jacob Zuma’s signature and be promulgated, it will allow for the South African Police Service (SAPS) to finally establish such an extensive DNA database in South Africa.
Working tirelessly for nine years to see this database become a reality, following the murder of her father – a crime where every scrap of DNA evidence was lost – Vanessa Lynch says the President’s signature does not mean the job is done.
Lynch spent four years lobbying government to pass DNA-specific legislation and, once that was achieved, it took another five years to pass it through Parliament.
An attorney by training, she formed nongovernmental organisation The DNA Project to pursue this goal.  “When the Bill is actually promulgated, only then will I breathe a transitory sigh of relief, because that will be when the real work begins,” says Lynch.

“While the law may look good on paper, my mission is and has always been to see it translate into actual crime deterrence and reduction.
“Only when I see its effective implementation will I honestly say that we, as a team, have made a difference.”
Author: Irma Venter
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