10,000th international DNA match reported

The 10,000th international DNA match was reported this week to the Public Prosecution Service and the police. A trace in the Dutch DNA database for criminal matters produced a match with the person in the Slovakian DNA database. The international comparison of DNA databases started in 2008.

Of the 10,000 reported matches, almost 40 percent of the cases concern Dutch traces which match with people in foreign DNA databases. Such matches immediately bring a possible suspect to the attention of the investigation services. An international request for mutual legal assistance can then be issued to the authorities abroad in order to obtain the personal details of the people in question.

Image: ©Netherlands Forensic Institute / Netherlands Forensic Institute
DNA profile

Not all international matches are important for the Netherlands

In the case of international matches both countries involved can see the result of the match, but not all matches are important for the Netherlands. For example, a match between a foreign trace and a Dutch detainee may be interesting for investigators abroad, but not in the Netherlands.

Kees van der Beek, custodian of the DNA database for criminal matters, has agreed with the Public Prosecution Service which matches will and will not be reported to them. As a consequence, approximately two-thirds of all international matches are not reported in the Netherlands.

Prüm Convention

The international comparison of DNA profiles originally took place within the framework of the Prüm Convention, and was incorporated into EU legislation in July 2008. It assigned a duty to European member states to make their DNA databases suitable for the automated comparison of DNA profiles with other EU countries.

Comparisons with 21 countries

Every day the Netherlands compares the content of its DNA database with those in Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Spain, Finland, France, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Cyprus, Estonia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Malta, Belgium and Portugal.

During the past ten months this contributed 1,199 to the current 10,004 reported international matches.