August 29, 2012 -
India lacks legislation, technology and the software needed to harness the full potential of biometrics in the field of forensic science. However, several advocates from private groups, law enforcement agencies in the country, and notable universities and medical colleges converged at a special forensics conference at Sri Ramachandra University on the weekend to discuss the importance of forensic biometrics in law enforcement in India.
The conference agreed that DNA sampling from crime scenes and arrested felons could go a long way in fighting crime in India.
Collecting DNA samples from a person who was arrested and using that same data for profiling can help investigators solve a crime very quickly. If used properly, it could even potentially avert a crime from ever happening.
In the West, biometric and DNA samples collected from crimes scenes and persons of interest are stored in very large data banks which is frequently accessed by investigators who are keen on solving a crime. The United Kingdom has collected more than six million DNA samples from both crimes scene and arrested individuals. Another 30,000 samples are being submitted to the UK’s law enforcement database monthly.
In other countries, there is a mix of DNA samples and biometric data being gathered. In the U.S., some states allow law enforcement agencies to collect biometric and DNA samples from arrested individuals regardless of whether they were convicted or not. When it comes to crime scene investigations, investigators collect not just hair samples or drops of saliva, but they also enter as evidence biometric samples left behind by criminals such as palm vein pattern prints, footprints and the like. Many disputed cases have been solved with finality due to the fact that the cases were supported by biometric forensic evidence.
Can biometrics improve the criminal justice system in India?