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Dna an ever-sharper weapon for the police

A couple of high-profile court cases in recent times has focused the light on the genetics role in police investigative work.

A 58-year-old man was recently linked to a brutal rape in Billdal, in the south of Gothenburg, sweden, 24 years ago. About the same time came the news that the investigation of a 15-year-old dubbelmord in Linköping, sweden may be close to a solution.

In both cases, due breakthroughs on the new dna technology and new dna powers.

that all persons suspected of crimes that can lead to a prison sentence to give a saliva sample, topsas.

At the beginning of the year introduced an opportunity that opens new doors: to make a so-called familjesökning in the dna registry, which in the best case matches dna evidence from a crime scene with a person who can be a close relative of the wanted offender. It was this tool that was key in the above mentioned cases.

the Police have in the day access to the dna profiles on a total of over 160.000 people in the two registers. The topsas when they are suspected of serious crimes ending up in the so-called utredningsregistret. Convicted they are brought over to the permanent dna registry, but is acquitted and taken their dna profile removed.

, which contains the dna traces secured at the crime scenes but which have not yet been linked to a person. As soon as you got the hit against a person is to be deleted the track removed from this registry.

But the dna information is available on other parts of society. Now underway is a pilot project where police and the forensic authority National forensiskt centre, NFC, to test how you can use private släktforskningsregister.

"It's another tool to get ahead with serious crimes where there is dna evidence but which will not in the port," says Ricky Ansell, geneticist and acting director of the biologisektionen in the NFC.

deals with the true user data with privacy, but who want to maximize their opportunities to get a hit, which is a good point for a genealogist, upload their genetic information on a free service called Gedmatch. The police can also do.

In december told the american criminal investigator with the help of Gedmatch been able to identify 28 persons in cases where it previously stalled, writes Research and Progress.

On släktforskningssajterna have the opportunity to access significantly more dna data than in police records. Ricky Ansell speaks of ”nodes”, relatives backwards in time, which is the genetic nodes.

– You can get back three, four, maybe five generations, and then you have to simply identify the relatives of this node.

" We have not come so far yet. But I have a little difficult to see that we would make it because it would not correspond to what you do. It would feel a bit strange, " says Ricky Ansell.

above all, It is american sites that are current, and some of them allow the justice system to go in to find matches for dna evidence. In those cases needed no registration.

Släktforskningsrörelsen is not particularly worried about the police's plans, judge Thomas Fürth, president of the Genealogical society.

" We have not taken an official position. But the public I hear is that it is positive if it can lead to that you can solve serious crimes, " says Fürth.

Sometimes brought the idea that the police would also be able to use the pku register that contains blood samples from all children born in Sweden from 1975. It aims to improve the care and treatment and should also be used for research purposes.

But it is not up to date, according to Ricky Ansell.

" No, it has a completely different purpose. The law is clear, not least the new biobankslagen. It is actually the only identification of the deceased that will be available to the judiciary.

more Interesting would be to increase the ability to topsa, " says Ansell.

the lawyer and rättsforskaren Johanna Björkman would be a good idea. It would be the expression for the monopoly of power, she says. However, she believes that the genetic analysis will come much earlier in the investigative activities in the future.

– Perhaps even in preliminary investigations. This means not least that early will be able to exclude people, " says Bjorkman, who specializes in dna evidence.

She thinks that the new technology contributed to the police work in a unique way, especially in unsolved cases, but insists on not forget that ”nothing can heal a bad track”.

And not all the traces on a crime scene is relevant. We may not end up in a position where we rafsar together lots of tracks. Matching is a tool to find the source, but it's good the track is the important proof.

with topsning of the suspects were exploited to the full. Three years after the law was introduced, wrote Johanna Björkman a chronicle where she frustrated noted that the police only sent out half as many specimens as NFC (or SKL, as it was called then) had the capacity for.

" We had everything in place, but it was tough to get started. The police was himself very critical, " she says.

she that the police are better at using the dna tools available to it. She stresses the so-called cold cases-group in Gothenburg that works with the old unsolved crimes.

If the ambition to make use of dna information on commercial släktforskningssajter says Björkman that there is a risk that the police will ”step into an exercise of power that is not really ethical', although it depends on how it is done.

" But it is not illegal, and in the other side of it is that you are trying to solve a serious crime where you tried everything else and this is the last opportunity.

Read more: Police release photofit created by the discredited dna technology

Read more: Police seek help from genealogists

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