DNA collection kits (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/wellcomeimages) - Credit: DNA collection kits (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/wellcomeimages)
Wednesday, October 21, 2015 - 10:06
Amsterdam public transit workers to collect DNA when spit upon
People spitting on public transit workers in Amsterdam, are now at greater risk of being caught and punished. Transporter GVB has equipped its employees with spit kits to collect DNA from the saliva. "The public transit workers perceive spitting as one of the most degrading forms of aggression", Mireille Muller of GVB said to Metro Nieuws. "It is humiliating, antisocial and criminal. The impact on our employees is high." A 6 month trial run with the spit kits started on October 1st, in collaboration with the police and Public Prosecutor. The spit kit contains a cotton swab, plastic holder and gloves. If someone spits on an employee, the public transit care team comes and collects a sample of the saliva. The sample is then handed to the police, along with the report on the incident. "Verilab then checks whether DNA can be retrieved from the saliva, after which the NFI looks for a match in the DNA database", Franklin Wattimena of the Amsterdam Public Prosecutor explained to the newspaper. If there is a match, the suspect is called in to the police station. The Prosecutor then decides whether or not to prosecute based on the report, the DNA and any camera footage. "The punishment for insulting a person with a public duty, and this includes spitting, can be up to three months in prison or a 4 thousand euros fine." In 2013 there were 43 reports of public transit workers being spat on, last year there were 28. Muller believes that the actual number is much higher. "It is clear that the number of registered reports is lower than the actual number, because not every victim reports it. Not everyone has confidence that something will be done with the report. We want to remove that idea."