Legislation has been passed by the WA Parliament that allows police to take DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) samples, and other identifying information from some members of the community.
The Criminal Investigation (Identifying People) Act 2002
Volunteers, witnesses or suspects for certain offences may be requested to provide police with identifying particulars, such as:
Suspects for serious offences may be asked to volunteer identifying particulars that are reasonably suspected that they will afford evidence of whether or not they committed a serious offence.
Suspects are not required to give consent unless they wish to do so. However, if they refuse, a senior officer may issue an order, or a Court may issue a warrant to take the identifying particulars using reasonable force if necessary.
People charged with a serious offence may be asked to volunteer their identifying particulars. They are not required to consent unless they wish to do so, however, if they refuse, a police officer may order them to give the identifying particulars. The police may then take the identifying particulars using reasonable force if necessary.
During police enquiries, people may be asked to volunteer their identifying particulars. Volunteers are not required to provide police with their identifying particulars unless they wish to do so.
Witnesses or the victims of offences may be asked to volunteer their identifying particulars. They are not required to give their identifying particulars.
If the witness or victim of the offence is a child or an incapable person (see note below), application may be made to a responsible person for consent to undertake the procedure, however, if consent is not given, police may make application to a Magistrate to have a warrant issued to take that person's identifying particulars.
An "incapable person" is a person of any age who is:
- unable by reason of a mental disability (which term includes intellectual disability, a psychiatric condition, an acquired brain injury and dementia) to understand the general nature and effect of, and the reason for and the consequences of undergoing, an identifying procedure; or
- unconscious or otherwise unable to understand a request made or information given under this Act or to communicate whether or not he or she consents to an identifying procedure being done on him or her.
Where can I get help?
Contact your legal representative, Legal Aid or the Aboriginal Legal Service as soon as possible if you have any concerns about consenting to a DNA sample being taken.
- a print of the person's hands or feet;
- a photograph;
- an impression;
- a sample of hair; and
- a person's DNA profile.
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