The New Zealand Law Commission recommended a new legal framework for police use of DNA in criminal investigations in a new 572-page report released Monday.
The Commission made seven key recommendations for change. First, better protect adults whose DNA is sought by police. Second, make a court order necessary to obtain DNA from suspect minors unable to consent. Third, fill legislative gaps by introducing regulations upon the currently unregulated “elimination sampling, mass screening, familial searching, and genetic genealogy searching” DNA analysis methods. Fourth, create a “DNA databank” for police to store DNA profiles and establish rules to govern how police use the databank. Fifth, limit the holding of offenders’ DNA profiles and bring youth DNA profile-holding into line with the rehabilitation function of the country’s youth justice system. Sixth, provide for independent assessment of advances in DNA technology and whether such new technologies be permitted for use in the country. Seventh, increase judicial supervision over DNA use in criminal investigations. Although the New Zealand government has yet to respond to the Commission’s review, Minister of Justice Hon Kris Faafoi said in a media release that the government will consider the Commission’s recommendations.