Sweden seeks to cut crime with shared DNA

Sweden seeks to cut crime with shared DNA
The Swedish government has proposed new legislation that would enable the country’s law enforcement agencies to sift through the DNA registers, fingerprint archives and vehicle databases of several other European countries.

The proposed new rules would similarly give those countries access to Swedish registers.

“I am convinced that the new rules will contribute to the police being able to solve more crimes,” said justice minister Beatrice Ask in a statement.

If the Swedish police find a match in the shared database, they can then ask the relevant country to divulge the identity of the person behind the DNA or fingerprints.

European countries already exchange DNA and fingerprint profiles, but the so-called Prüm Convention on which the government is basing its proposal has created provisions allowing countries to automate the process. This means domestic police forces can look through other countries’ registers when seeking matches for evidence found at a crime scene. Under current laws, Sweden must turn to each individual country to request a database search.

The Prüm Convention, named after a German town, is a treaty with the stated aim of combating cross-border crime, terrorism and illegal migration. It was signed in 2005 by Germany, France, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, and Luxembourg. Six more countries have since signed up to the treaty. These are Norway, Finland, Estonia, Slovenia, Hungary, and Romania.

If approved by Sweden’s parliament, the government wants the new rules to come into force on August 1st, 2011.

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