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Switzerland gives DNA fingerprinting the thumbs up

The Swiss authorities are to set up a DNA database to help police track down crime suspects. The government approved the project, which will use genetic fingerprinting techniques to identify suspects.

The new database will contain genetic information about convicted criminals and it will enable police to establish whether a particular person was present at a crime scene.

A special commission of experts recommended the quick introduction of a national system to prevent cantons introducing their own structures which would be difficult to coordinate at a later date.

The commission also stressed the need to keep other personal information on Swiss citizens on a separate database.

Swiss police hope the new database will help them identify potential suspects more quickly and speed up the investigative process in cases which cross cantonal and international borders. The project will start operating on an experimental basis on July 1 and will last four years.

Reports from police forces in several other countries already using DNA fingerprinting to identify suspects, show that they help in solving complex criminal cases much more quickly than traditional investigative methods alone. Criminal experts say the new techniques do not solve crimes in themselves, but complement existing practices such as classic fingerprinting.

swissinfo with agencies

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