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Durham University

Policy, Professions and Communities Research Group


Publication details for Professor Robin Williams

Johnson, P. & Williams, R. (2007). Internationalising New Technologies of Crime Control: Forensic DNA Databasing and Datasharing in the European Union. Policing and Society 17(2): 103-118.

Author(s) from Durham


The use of DNA profiling in support of criminal investigations by police forces across the world has expanded remarkably during the last decade. The effectiveness of the world's first national DNA database—the National DNA Database of England & Wales—has subsequently influenced both police and legislative authorities in many other criminal jurisdictions to establish (or seek to establish) equivalent databases. The automated comparison of DNA profiles obtained from scenes of crime with those obtained from individuals suspected of involvement in criminal activities is regarded by many observers as the most important development in investigative technology since the adoption of fingerprint comparison early in the last century. This paper describes some recent and significant efforts to influence both the growth of national DNA databases, and also to extend the exchange of genetic information in support of trans-national policing. Some of the legal, policy and ethical issues that arise from these efforts are outlined and discussed.