Thai agency proposes DNA biometrics database for police
A Thai forensics agency under the country’s Justice Ministry is proposing the creation of a national DNA hub that will store the biometrics of inmates and criminal suspects, the Bangkok Post reports.
The Post says that the director of the Central Institute of Forensic Science (CIFS), a wing of Thailand’s Justice Ministry, proposes establishing a ‘Biometric Hub for Justice’ that will collect DNA and biometric information of inmates and suspects charged by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI).
CIFS director Police Colonel Songsak is reported to have said that Thailand needs a national DNA database which would help law enforcement identify and catch suspects. He said the CIFS currently collects DNA on offenders from 400,000 cases and 10,000 inmates in serious cases every year in Bangkok and neighboring provinces, that are sourced from other state agencies.
The ‘Genetic Data Bill,’ which permits a national DNA center, received cabinet approval, Songsak added. The director also says the CIFS is in talks with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about a national DNA database, which the FBI will support.
“The proposed centre will collect DNA and other information from all inmates under the supervision of the Justice Ministry as well as from suspects indicted by the DSI,” Songsak is quoted as saying. “The CIFS itself can’t collect information from an accused due to legal and privacy rights.”
Kritsanapong Phutrakul, chair of the Faculty of Criminology and Justice Administration at Rangsit University and a Lieutenant Colonel in the police, told the Bangkok Post that the Biometric Hub for Justice would make identifying individuals easier and improve security. Phutrakul adds that Thailand still resorts to identification cards while other countries use biometric data like fingerprints and iris scans for identity confirmation.
“Several state agencies collect personal information of individuals but their databases aren’t linked. A national DNA database or a biometrics database will help prevent repeat offences and track down offenders efficiently,” Phutrakul said.
Patchara Sinloyma, former dean of the faculty of forensic science at the Police Cadet Academy, gave her support for the biometric hub and said the DNA database could cut repeat offenses by 60 percent. But she said the database should be supervised by an independent agency, not a state agency like the Royal Thai Police or the Justice Ministry.
Thailand has integrated biometric technology from Dermalog as a security measure with a border control system that detects for signs of fever.