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90-minute DNA testing gets a look by London’s Met

Categories Biometrics News  |  Law Enforcement
90-minute DNA testing gets a look by London’s Met

Rapid DNA biometric profiling — in under two hours — has jumped the North Atlantic from the United States. London’s Metropolitan Police Service has begun a six-month trial of the handheld technology.

DNA, the most comprehensive biometric identifier, has helped find criminals and exonerate the wrongly accused globally for decades. Until recently, the turnaround on results was measured in days, often more than a week.

Fraser Sampson, the UK’s Biometrics Commissioner, posted a video clip in which he describes “real-time testing of DNA,” but is closer to 90 minutes. Neither he nor the Met have released any details other than the contractor has a lab in Lambert.

Sampson says he has had a cheek swab and received the results in two hours. He said the development is like “sending the science to the scene” of a crime. Ordinarily, the evidence would travel a lengthy path to a lab before results are delivered to the police.

Without offering any corroborating information, The Times has reported that “at least one offender” has been arrested for “historical offences.”

In February, the U.S. Homeland Security department reported on its rapid DNA pilot for verifying parent-child relationships. It is unclear what contractor was hired to supply the system. Also, while it seems the system in place can deliver results in 90 minutes, the department is sending swabs away for 24-hour service.

Thermo Fisher Scientific offers a 90-minute DNA processing solution. Among its customers is the Bensalem Township, Penn., police department.

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