CrimTrac to widen its DNA matching net

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CrimTrac to widen its DNA matching net

Looks for a solution that will find family links in the haystack.

Australia’s law enforcement data coordinator CrimTrac is looking to expand the DNA matching capabilities of the nation’s law enforcement agencies.

At present, DNA collected in the course of state, territory and federal police investigations is checked against CrimTrac’s National Crime Investigation DNA Database (NCIDD) for matches.

The NCIDD stories DNA profiles from convicted offenders and suspects, items belonging to missing persons, unknown deceased persons and samples collected at crime scenes.

But the system is limited to direct DNA matches – where a sample exactly mirrors that of an individual already stored on the database.

CrimTrac has today approached the market in the hope of sourcing a national solution that would allow it to expand its reach into familial links, keeping up with capability already available to equivalent agencies in New Zealand, the UK and USA.

“Implementing a kinship matching and familial searching capability would enhance searching and analysis of DNA across Australia, which would enable police to solve more crimes,” CrimTrac CEO Doug Smith said in a statement.

CrimTrac expects the added functionality would reveal its true value in cases when a scan of the current DNA matching system comes up empty handed.

“Familial searching will allow law enforcement partners to search national databases for potential relatives of a suspect, where all other investigative leads have been exhausted,” the agency explained in tender documents.

As well as criminal cases, CrimTrac is eyeing off uses for the new system to match unidentified human remains against the missing person’s database and for disaster victim identification. In 2002, the NCIDD database played a crucial role in identifying victims of the Bali bombings.

CrimTrac hopes the solution will be able to run familial matching and kinship analysis of a sample across as many as five million DNA profiles in under five minutes. It will also need to store images of DNA sequencing and perform messaging tasks to alert investigators to the results of a search.

The solution should also run on the same infrastructure used by CrimTrac’s other systems, which is based around a Windows server operating system running atop a VMWare vSphere virtualisation platform.

CrimTrac also operates a multi-node Oracle RAC environment for persistent relational data.

The project is one of a handful the agency is currently undertaking. In July CrimTrac took the first step in a $9.1 million project to build a national electronic ballistics network for police.

In the same month the agency approached the market for the development of a national identity management strategy for its data sharing service.

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