With the crime detection rate in Trinidad and Tobago at an all-time low, I endorse the call by the Attorney General to set up national database housing DNA information of criminal offenders. This can be used by law enforcement agencies to identify suspects of crimes. DNA technology has proven to be a highly instrumental investigative tool which has helped to exonerate the innocent whilst assisting to bring criminal elements to justice.
The key purpose of the database is providing law enforcement with information on persons to see whether any of them is a potential suspect for a past crime. This might include a crime they have been arrested on suspicion of committing.
As recent as this week, A Supreme Court in India requested the creation of a road map for setting up of a DNA database to help in identification of bodies and missing persons. Major countries such as the US and England established their database since 1988 and 1994 respectively.
DNA databases can also provide ‘cold hits’—unexpected matches between a crime-scene DNA profile and an individual’s DNA profile—to introduce a new suspect into an investigation.
From global research, preserving DNA evidence is a key tool for law enforcement’s investigation and prosecution of a sexual assault case. It is used to prove that a sexual assault occurred and to show that the defendant is the source of biological material left on the victim’s body.
Therefore, this DNA database can help with different facets of crime reduction. I hope that all the other parliamentarians do all in their power to support this initiative.
Kudos to the Attorney General Mr. Anand Ramlogan for his role in initiating this idea in T&T.