Police taking more DNA samples

POLICE in Suffolk collected 41% more DNA samples during the past 12 months compared to the previous year, figures reveal.A report to Suffolk Police Authority shows 1,110 items of DNA evidence were recovered at crime scenes in 2002-03 compared to 789 in 2001-02.

POLICE in Suffolk collected 41% more DNA samples during the past 12 months compared to the previous year, figures reveal.

A report to Suffolk Police Authority shows 1,110 items of DNA evidence were recovered at crime scenes in 2002-03 compared to 789 in 2001-02.

The amount of DNA evidence submitted rose during the period from 1,229 to 1,484, while the number of hits (correct matches) increased slightly from 425 in 2001-02 to 452 in 2002-03.

The data shows Suffolk Constabulary's scenes of crimes officers attended 487 burglary and vehicle scenes compared to the previous year.

Although the number of fingerprints recovered at crime scenes fell slightly from 3,221 in 2001-02 compared to 3,106 in the past year, the number of fingerprint identifications rose from 392 to 512.

Suffolk Constabulary developed its scientific support unit in 2000-01, which included investment in many aspects of the area, including staffing, forensic budgets, purchase of state-of-the-art technology and the creation of a scientific support headquarters based in Halesworth.

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Since the development plan began, the number of scenes examined by scenes of crimes officers has increased by 20% - from 8,081 in 2000-01 to 9,623 in 2002-03.

In the same period, burglary scenes examined have risen from 3,309 to 3,769 while vehicle examinations have increased from 1,481 to 2,394 – a rise of 62%.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said: "Science is playing an increasingly important role in recovering the evidence that links offenders to their crimes.

"In recognition of this, investment in the constabulary's scientific support unit has been a high priority in the drive to make Suffolk the safest county in the country.

"Extra scientific staff, including additional scenes of crime officers, and fingerprint experts, have already been recruited."

The total number of DNA and fingerprint identifications has risen from 817 in 2001-02 to 964 in 2002-03.

The spokeswoman added: "The investment in the extra staff is beginning to have a real impact. SOCOs are attending more crime scenes and recovering more evidence."

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