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Staff shortage threatens database exchange

Published on October 13, 2015

News of the staffing issues in the department that deals with DNA appears in Monday’s edition of the daily ‘De Standaard’. The shortage of staff won’t affect existing co-operations with foreign judicial authorities.

The analysis of traces of genetic material are essential in criminal investigations. 8 years ago Belgium started an international DNA exchange. Gradually The Netherlands, France, Luxembourg, Germany, Spain and Austria.

Up until now the exchange of DNA data has proved a success. For example there were 4,827 match when the Belgian and French databases were compared.

More than 30 DNA samples taken during murder investigations and a 41 samples taken from sex crime investigations could be linked to one man that was on the French DNA database. The DNA-exchange with The Netherlands turned up 1,745 matches.

However, a shortage of staff means that the Federal Judicial authorities are unable to extend its cooperation with foreign police services further. The exchange of DNA database data with Germany and Luxembourg was due to start soon.

“Of course we would rather carry on, but the circumstances leave me with no choice”, the Federal Prosecutor Frédéric Van Leeuw told ‘De Standaard’.

“As long as we still await a decision on extra staff for the DNA Team we can’t really do anything else.

The Justice Minister Koen Geens (Flemish Christian Democrat) says that he will make extra cash available. Two extra temporary staff members will be taken on which a lasting solution is sought.

 

Flandersnews.be / Expatica