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Solving crime in the present has been made easier with the introduction of a DNA database in the UK. The database consists of millions of peoples DNA which greatly assists in future crimes and investigations as if DNA is present at a crime scene the DNA can be checked into the database to identify victims or the suspect.
The DNA database is stored in Dundee, when I criminal/suspect is apprehended, Scottish police have the right to take a sample of DNA from the suspect, this usually consists of a mouth swap which is an easy extraction method and provides a prime DNA sample for the police to use for future reference to help prosecute or help in the courtroom. This extraction of DNA from suspects is also known as a Criminal justice sample. When a victim or suspect has been identified through the system this database is crucial in aiding investigations and is a primary source to use in the courtroom.
However, in Scotland, the DNA database is very different from the ones used in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The main difference is the that the Scottish government has delved deeper into the correlation between the use of the DNA and peoples rights as some of the public’s rights have been breached due to DNA being stored on the database indefinitely. In 2006 members of the Scottish parliament voted against the proposition of allowing the police to store all DNA evidence permanently from suspects arrested. This is why our Database is different from England’s as the English parliament approved of this type of storage of DNA from criminals and suspects. There are a significant advantage and disadvantage from this allowance of DNA storage.
The advantage of this permanent storage it will greatly improve future crime investigation as previous criminals can be kept on the database and be eliminated or be associated with the crime, reducing Police resources and time spent,this will allow the police to focus on other areas of the investigation such as capturing the suspect after being identified at the crime scene through DNA evidence.
However the disadvantage of having a permanent storage of peoples DNA is that the public put the argument forward of this storage is breaching human rights, as some records get stored in England without the persons knowledge this can be seen as a breach of Human rights and people find it disturbing thinking that babies born from now on should have there samples taken for reference in the future which many other people in Scotland refuse as well as the Scottish parliament. I believe we should have a permanent storage of DNA from people for the future in Scotland so firstly, it will save police countless hours of searching for suspects and identifying witnesses when they only need to look up the database online, in which a DNA sample gathered from the crime scene can match with the suspect or witnesses DNA on the database instantly. And to combat the fear and insecurity from the public those that Have not committed crimes have nothing to worry about because they will be eliminated from the search as their DNA sample is one the police don’t need to consider, so I don’t understand the massive uproar from the Scottish public, as people should understand that having the majority of the public’s DNA on permanent record it will greatly assist in keeping the public safe from criminals as they will be easier to identify in the future as if the majority of the Scottish public’s is on record, the bigger the chance of suspects and witnesses being identifying making it less time consuming. However, on the other hand, having a DNA database this size accounting for the majority of Scotland’s population it will prove to be very expensive to keep hold and run the database.
Costs would come for retrieving samples through equipment such as mouth swabs from the public and keeping them in Prime condition for future use, the Database would cost the police money to run also as they would need to purchase a large system to account for the number of samples gathered by the police. So I can understand why only having a temporary database may be seen as useful in Scotland as it will only keep the samples of people offending to aid in the chance of detaining them again in the future through forensics at the crime scene, and people that do not commit crimes will not be on it, reducing the anxiety of some people as they don’t have their DNA on the same system as criminals. However first time offenders will be harder to catch as they will not be on the DNA database increasing time spent by the police to track down the offenders, which would also cost more money.
Overall I believe Scotland should replace there temporary DNA database with a permanent one like our Neighbours England as it will significantly reduce the time spent by the police to try and catch criminals and will make the process of identifying criminals and witnesses at crime scenes much easier due to the larger population of DNA samples. However it will prove to be difficult and time-consuming to gather the majority of the Scottish peoples DNA and prove to be costly, but in the long run, it’ll prove to be an upgrade over the previous system. Lastly with both systems suspects will still fall through the gaps of the database making them harder to identify, it is up to Police Scotland to identify the weaknesses of the system and strengthen them for the future.
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