New DNA technology may help solve thousands of cold cases

DNA testing. Photo:
DNA testing. Photo:

New technology to re-examine dna material from thousands of unsolved cases is expected to result in numerous convictions in less time and with less manpower, the police and the prosecution office have said.

The dna profiles found in these cases, which vary between 500 and 600 a year, is often incomplete or mixed and is therefore not included in the police dna data base.

They are currently compared to the dna profiles in the data base by hand once and then set aside. However, because the number of profiles increases by around 20,000 a year chances that matches may be found become more likely.

The new technology, which is currently only used for serious crimes such as rape and murder, will allow an automated search instead of a time-consuming manual search, for which the software is being prepared, forensic public prosecutor Mirjam Warnaar told the AD.

The move comes after police officials and unions raised the alarm about a lack of staff eighteen months ago. ‘We are in a better position now, but this move has been long overdue,’  forensic team chief Ruud Staijen said.

The dna project is part of bigger effort by forensic institute NFI and police to speed up dna processing, for instance by analysing dna at the scene of the crime.

Police will start using the new software in the first half of next year.

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