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Forensic DNA Regulations in Place

July 25, 2017

Department of Police

Regulations outlining how the South African Police Service (SAPS) will be allowed to take DNA samples from suspects have been published in Government Gazette 38561.

The Forensic DNA Regulations were published for comment in October 2010.

They were drawn up in terms of section 6 of the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Act of 2013.

The act promotes the use of DNA in crime fighting efforts and regulates how this is to occur taking constitutional principles into account.

It calls for the setting up of a national forensic DNA database.

The act also allows for forensic DNA profiles to be used in crime investigation and court proceedings.

The regulations focus on, inter alia:

• The taking of a DNA sample;
• The keeping of records in respect of collected buccal and crime scene samples;
• Samples taken from persons for investigative purposes;
• Samples collected by the independent police investigative directorate;
• Preservation and timely transfer of collected samples to the Forensic Science Laboratory;
• Conducting of comparative searches;
• Communication of forensic DNA findings and related information;
• DNA examinations conducted at the Forensic Science Laboratories;
• Request for access to information stored on the NFDD;
• Follow-up of forensic investigative leads;
• Destruction of DNA reference samples and buccal samples;
• Notification of court findings;
• Removal of forensic DNA profiles from the NFDD;
• Protocols and training relating to familial searches;
• Complaints to the Forensic Oversight and Ethics Board;
• Reports; and
• Information technology infrastructure and systems.

Requests for removal of DNA profiles must be accompanied by police clearance certificates confirming that the applicant has no criminal record.

The regulations are now in force.

Meanwhile, in Gazette 38560, the department of police has introduced amendments to South African Police Service Employment Regulations.

Changes are made to regulation 11 which deals with definitions in the financial disclosure section.

New definitions are added including “designated employee”, “register”, “registrable interests”, “remuneration” and “submitted form”.