Rapid return for crime scene DNA

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A new project to speed up the time it takes to obtain DNA profiles from crime scenes is to be trialled in Lancashire.

The county’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) successfully bid to the Home Office’s Police Innovation Fund for £431,000 to trial the RapidHIT DNA technology, which would mean officers could obtain a DNA profile from a crime scene in a matter of hours.

Currently, it can take up to five days after the laboratory receives a sample for a DNA sample to be obtained from the National DNA database. RapidHIT DNA would remove the need for the sample to be sent to a lab. Instead RapidHIT DNA equipment will be housed in Lancashire.

Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: “Technology which will enable police officers to carry out their roles quicker and more effectively is vital to the future success of the force, and this Home Office funding gives Lancashire the opportunity to be at the forefront of a project which will do just that.

“Ultimately, when a crime happens the public want and expect Lancashire Constabulary to solve it as quickly as possible – and if RapidHIT DNA can be implemented in Lancashire it will help that to happen. It will improve public confidence, free up officer time and allow offenders to be charged quicker.”

Nottinghamshire PCC also successfully bid to trial the technology, and the Home Office want the two forces to work together on the project.

During the trial, which will last six months, the RapidHIT DNA technology will be used during “real life” investigations to assess how it works best, its reliability and the cost benefits. The project will then be evaluated for a further six months with the intention of fully integrating it in Lancashire, if the trial has proved a success.

Dr Kath Mashiter of Lancashire Constabulary, said: “We are absolutely delighted that our bid for Innovation Funding has been successful.

“The funding will give us the opportunity to “test out” RapidHIT DNA technology in order to establish the most cost-effective means of using this equipment.”