Justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus is considering allowing the police to access commercial dna data banks when attempting to solve old murder cases or identify bodies, the AD reported on Tuesday.
The police are currently barred from accessing data banks set up by companies specialized in tracing family members or providing clients with information about their heritage.
But Grapperhaus has now told MPs that allowing the police access is an ‘interesting idea’ and that he has commissioned research into the options which would be open to the police in the Dutch criminal justice system.
A start could be made with trying to identify the 900 unknown deaths on the register and solving the 1,700 cold cases currently with the police department, the minister said.
US companies such as GEDmatch, 23andMe and FamilyTreeDNA have millions of clients, including most of the Dutch nationals who have used a commercial dna service.
According to the AD, GEDmatch alone has 1.2 million profiles. The current Dutch police data bank has 300,000, nearly all belonging to people with a criminal conviction.
Police in the US have been accessing commercial dna banks for the past two years and have solved some 70 crimes since then, the AD said. Many have included this possibility in their terms and conditions.
Grapperhaus said he is aware of the privacy concerns and that genealogical dna data bases should be used ‘very carefully’.
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