DNA and Fingerprints

Can The Police Take My DNA Or Fingerprints?

The taking of DNA or a Fingerprint are examples of what is known as a forensic procedure. In certain circumstances police are authorised to undertake forensic procedures.

A forensic procedure involves either:

  • the taking of prints of fingers, hands or toes;
  • an examination of part of a person’s body that can be done without removing a persons clothing or making contact with the body;
  • the taking of a sample of biological or other material from a person’s body, (e.g. fingernail scrapping, finger prick or buccal swab of saliva.);
  • the taking of an impression or cast of a part of a person’s body, (e.g. a dental impression)

When Can Police Conduct A Forensic Procedure?

Police can conduct a forensic procedure on any person suspected of having committed a serious offence.

A ‘serious criminal offence’ is defined as any major or minor indictable offence, or any summary offence that is punishable by imprisonment.

If you are charged with a serious criminal offence, police have the right to order that you provide a finger print, buccal swap or a finger prick.

The police have authority to take a DNA sample even if the person is not in lawful custody.

What Are My Rights In Regards To A Forensic Procedure?

During the procedure you are entitled to an interpreter if you are not fluent in English.

Police must inform you that reasonable force will be used to take the DNA sample.

Police are not entitled to take a sample of hair unless you authorise that is how you would like to provide your DNA sample.

If the forensic procedure is an intrusive procedure you are entitled to have present at your expense a medical practitioner of your choice to observe the procedure.

You should also be aware that should you resist the procedure, evidence of this may be admitted against you in proceedings. In certain circumstances, this may amount to a separate offence being laid against you.