Genetic Policing: The Uses of DNA in Police Investigations (Paperback) book cover

Genetic Policing

The Uses of DNA in Police Investigations

By Robin Williams, Paul Johnson

© 2008 – Willan

208 pages

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Paperback: 9781843922049
pub: 2008-02-01
Hardback: 9781843922056
pub: 2008-02-01
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pub: 2013-05-13
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This book is about the increasing significance of DNA profiling for crime investigation in modern society. It focuses on developments in the UK as the world-leader in the development and application of forensic DNA technology and in the construction of DNA databases as an essential element in the successful use of DNA for forensic purposes.

The book uses data collected during the course of Wellcome Trust funded research into police uses of the UK National DNA Database (NDNAD) to describe the relationship between scientific knowledge and police investigations. It is illustrated throughout by reference to some of the major UK criminal cases in which DNA evidence has been presented and contested.


'[Makes] significant contributions to the exisiting literature on local and global practices of using genetic science in law enforcement.'

'[E]ach chapter considers specific issues in intricate detail, seamlessly weaving the many different sources and ideas to provide an informative and rich analysis of the use of DNA in policing.'

-David Wyatt, University of Exeter in Genomics, Society and Policy, vol. 6, no. 1, 2010

Table of Contents

1. Introducing forensic DNA profiling and databasing. Approaching the NDNAD. The politics of 'crime management'. DNA profiling and due process DNA evidence. The research 2. The technology of social order. Introduction. Individuation, identification and social order. The criminal body. The new biometrics. Under the skin. Conclusion 3. From 'genetic fingerprint' to 'genetic profile'. Introduction. Scientific innovation and its investigative application. First police use of DNA - the 'Pitchfork' case. UK government investment in research and development. DNA and UK forensic science. Conclusion 4. Criminalistics and forensic genetics. Introduction. Crime scene examination, physical evidence and forensic intelligence. Sources and amounts of biological material. Scientific innovations. Conclusion 5. Populating the NDNAD - inclusion and contestation. Introduction. Technological innovation and legal context. Finding a subject: making the NDNAD in law. The end of innocence: extending NDNAD inclusion. Contesting the law: privacy, discrimination and the Human Rights Act. Conclusion: the reconfigured criminal body 6. Using DNA effectively. Introduction. Police, forensic science and the new public management. The rise of intelligence-led policing. Using physical evidence - research and evidence. Establishing effective uses of the NDNAD. The expansion programme. Conclusion 7. Governing the NDNAD. Introduction. Governing the NDNAD: the 'Memorandum of Understanding'. Contemporary 'principles' of governance. Juridico-scientific accountability. Administrative accountability. Civic accountability. Conclusion 8. Current developments and emerging trends. Introduction. Database futures: changing the inclusion regime. Data-sharing and exchange. Conclusion 9. Conclusion

About the Authors

Robin Williams is Professor Emeritus in the School of Applied Social Sciences at Durham University.

Paul Johnson is Professor of Sociology at the University of York.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology