Police waiting on new DNA technology

POLICE in Suffolk are waiting to see the result of new DNA results elsewhere in Britain before deciding whether to use the technique on unsolved crimes - including the Karen Hales murder - in the county.

POLICE in Suffolk are waiting to see the result of new DNA results elsewhere in Britain before deciding whether to use the technique on unsolved crimes - including the Karen Hales murder - in the county.

The government-owned Forensic Science Service (FSS) has announced a trial of the system which means previously uninterpretable DNA samples may now be used in evidence. It will be made available to Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire within three months and officers are already assessing its potential impact.

The technique, dubbed DNAboost, is currently being used by West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Northumbria and Humberside police. It is a world-first and means that when more than one person has touched a surface - a door handle, for instance - it will be possible to distinguish between individual samples.

This - combined with another method called Low Copy Number, which enables matches to be found using minute samples of cells - mean countless cases which have lain dormant for many years can be re-examined.


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FSS scientists estimate that the breakthrough could double the number of cold cases which could now be solved.

Suffolk police spokesman Simon Stevens said: “We will look at how these forces progress with the trials with interest. Any advance in science which could help us solve more cases must be welcomed.”

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However he added that the force would assess the results from the north of England before using the new technique and he warned it might not be realistic to use it in the high-profile Suffolk cases like those of Karen Hales and Vicky Hall.

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