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Dublin: 3 °C Tuesday 18 February, 2020

Untrained gardaí taking DNA samples with some using 'how to' video guide to assist them

Inadequate staffing levels at the section of the gardaí which oversees the recording of DNA samples was also highlighted.

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock/abd

SOME MEMBERS OF An Garda Síochána are taking DNA samples despite not receiving training to do so, with officers relying on a “how to” video guide to assist them.

That’s according to the latest report by the Garda Professional Standards Unit (GPSU), which examines and reviews the performance of An Garda Síochána as directed by the commissioner. 

It also found that staffing levels at the section which oversees the recording of DNA samples – the National Forensic Coordination Office (NFCO) – are “inadequate”, the Irish Examiner reported this morning.

As part of its survey which interviewed gardaí across 12 divisions, it found that 55% of members had received some training in relation to the taking, submission, retention and destruction of DNA. However, 81% of members said they are taking DNA samples. 

It also highlighted a “lack of oversight and governance in relation to the submission of samples into Forensic Science Ireland and the retention / destruction of samples / profiles”. 

The GPSU also found that only 67% of DNA samples taken when a suspect was being detained were recorded on custody records, and 92% of reports matching to a profile of a crime were acted upon. 

A lack of awareness and training also meant that laws around DNA aren’t being fully utilised, the GPSU said. 

The review body hopes to complete reports into An Garda Síochána’s performance regarding court standards, the embedment of the code of ethics, service of summons and investigative interviewing this year. 

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Sean Murray

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