Public Prosecutor too quick to take DNA, privacy in danger: Supreme Council

Giving a DNA sample (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Michael Starkey)Giving a DNA sample (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Michael Starkey)

The Attorney General of the Supreme Council wants to change the way DNA samples are taken from convicts. Currently the judiciary takes a DNA sample from everyone sentenced to four years or more in prison. According to the Attorney General, this puts privacy at stake. He suggests only taking DNA material from people convicted of serious violent or sexual offenses, NOS reports.

The large-scale taking of DNA samples was implemented at the recommendation of the Hoekstra committee, who looked into the investigation into the murder of former minister and D66 leader Els Borst. It turned out that, against the rules, no DNA sample was taken from perpetrator Bart van U. after a previous conviction. If that had happened, Borst's murder would have been solved much faster. Instead Van U. was only linked to Borst's case after he killed his sister. 

After the Hoekstra report the Public Prosecutor started playing catchup by taking DNA from everyone convicted and given longer prison sentences. DNA is currently taken about 25 thousand times a year. 

According to the Attorney General, privacy is at risk if DNA samples are taken from people convicted of crimes like embezzlement and forgery. He points out that the widespread taking of DNA was primarily intended to expedite te solving of serious crimes. 

It is now up to Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security to decide whether or not to limit the taking of DNA to serious violent or sexual offenses. He will respond to the Attorney General's advice early next year, according to the broadcaster.