Jamaica Set To Acquire DNA Database

The Ministry of National Security is to acquire the software and associated equipment for a DNA database at a cost of US$450,000 this financial year.

This was announced recently by the Minister of National Security, Dr. Horace Chang.

He noted that the acquisition of the DNA database is part of the recent upgrades his Ministry has undertaken in keeping true to the Government’s commitment to the use of forensic technology in its crime-fighting efforts.

“The IFSLM is currently in the process of improving its capacity and capabilities for greater efficiency and effectiveness. This modernization will enable the IFSLM to increase its use of DNA and other biological evidence to solve crimes, by prosecuting offenders and exonerating the innocent,” he explained.

Dr. Chang further noted that as of June 2019, a total of 461 DNA samples had been submitted to the Institute for forensic investigations.

“Additionally, the JCF (Jamaica Constabulary Force) and DCS (Department of Correctional Services) detention officers submitted 476 DNA samples to populate the DNA Registry. For the first half of 2019, IFSLM conducted

DNA analysis on 313 cases involving 460 exhibits and found matches in 47 percent of the cases,” he explained.

Director of IFSLM, Dr. Judith Mowatt, said the database will make a profound difference in the use of DNA and other biological evidence to solve crimes.

“It will be the first time we are having a national database. In terms of technology and infrastructure, we have the latest equipment and kits. But what we don’t have is a DNA database that will create the intelligence from all of those profiles that we have generated,” she noted.

“Our DNA analysis is helping to give the police intelligence in terms of crime detection, so they will send us samples from a case that they would like us to connect to the suspect,” Dr. Mowatt explained.

Pollyanna Davy Readers Bureau, Fellow

Edited by Jesus Chan 

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