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     FrontPage Edition: Thu 22 July 2004

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DNA Database launched in Singapore

Source: www.gov.sg 

Excerpt of speech by Minister for Home Affairs Mr Wong Kan Seng at the Forensic Conference 2004 on 14 Jul 2004

"...Although the Singapore Police Force DNA Database, which is being officially launched today (14 Jul 2004) is relatively new, Police have in fact been using DNA forensics from as early as 1991.

"Back then, DNA testing was largely confined to the direct matching of a suspect’s DNA profile with that collected at the crime scene.  This meant that suspects implicated for one offence may not be readily linked to previous offences committed by the same offender.

"The new DNA database, however, comprises both offenders’ DNA profiles as well as DNA profiles recovered from crime scenes. Once a suspect’s DNA profile is uploaded, it would be compared against all existing profiles in the database.

"This is particularly useful in surfacing repeat offenders as it helps establish links between previous DNA profiles recovered. This works in the same manner as the current Automated Fingerprint Identification System 2 (AFIS 2), which allows Police to screen latent prints collected from crime scenes with those stored in the Criminal Records Office’s database.

"....The DNA database is also valuable in helping to rule out innocent suspects. This focuses investigative efforts, thereby saving time and resources.  More importantly, it prevents the innocent from being wrongfully charged.

"Since its inception last year, the DNA database has now accumulated some 38,000 DNA profiles. This number is still growing. Based on empirical evidence from other countries with established DNA databases, it seems that the larger the database, the higher the chances of a crime being solved.

"In time, the DNA database should be more effective. In addition, since we use the same DNA comparison software as that used by the INTERPOL and law enforcement agencies in several other countries, the SPF DNA Database would contribute to the verification of DNA profiles around the world....."

Full text of speech

Source: Singapore Government Press Release 14 Jul 2004

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