Dutch DNA database has resulted in 25,000 international matches
In the very early hours of February 26, the 25,000th DNA match was found by comparing data in the Dutch forensic DNA database with that of the databases in 20 other European countries. It was a match between a trace from a Dutch case and a person from a Austrian case.
The Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) manages the Dutch forensic DNA database. Since 2008, the Netherlands has exchanged DNA profiles in this database with those in the databases of an increasing number of other EU countries. Comparison by exchanging data is done on the basis of the Prüm Convention signed in 2005, some provisions of which were adopted in European law three years later.
At this moment, the Netherlands exchanges DNA profiles with a total of 20 EU Member States. In the near future, this exchange should take place with all 27 other Member States. Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, despite not being EU Member States, can also join the programme. Norway and Iceland have already stated that they want to do so.
Last summer, Belgium was the 20th country to start comparing DNA profiles with those in the Dutch DNA database. To date, that has resulted in 2064 matches.
The comparison of DNA profiles (traces and persons) is fully automated. Every night, all new and modified DNA profiles from the forensic DNA database are sent to the databases of the operational countries, where they are compared with the information in those databases. The results are returned immediately.
Not all matches are 100% matches, and not all matches are relevant to the Netherlands. For that reason, the DNA database manager has made arrangements with the Public Prosecution Service on the reported matches that will be ignored and those on which information will be returned.
The Public Prosecution Service and the police received information on 7326 of the 25,000 matches found. In more than 3100 cases, it concerned a match between a trace in a Dutch criminal case and a person in a foreign criminal case. 2326 times, it concerned a match between a trace in a Dutch criminal case and a trace in a foreign criminal case.
In 836 cases, the DNA profile of a person in a Dutch criminal case matched a DNA profile of a trace in a foreign criminal case, and in 971 cases, the NFI reported a match between the DNA profile of a person in a Dutch criminal case and that of a person in a foreign criminal case.