Business Wire India
- Delhi FSL witnesses tenfold rise in crime scene visits and collection of DNA samples over the last 10 years.
- Seven Mobile Forensic Units to cover 15 Delhi Police districts round-the-clock for timely collection of crime scene DNA evidence.
- Delhi FSL set to hire 80 officials at different posts for their Crime Scene Management team.
The Delhi Forensic Science Laboratory (DFSL) has been sanctioned three more Mobile Crime Scene Units in addition to existing four units to handle the increasing volume of requests for crime scene examination and DNA evidence collection from Delhi Police investigators across all state districts. They will be managed by the control room at the Rohini facility, operating round the clock on a 24×7 basis to expedite timely collection and packaging of forensic evidences.
Over the last few years, DFSL has seen a steady increase in requests from Delhi Police to examine crime scenes and collect forensic evidence. Crime scene calls to the state forensic lab have climbed to 600 per year, growing almost 10 times over a decade. However, based on volumes of reported cases, officials see an annual requirement ranging from 12,000 to 15,000 crime scenes that require attention of expert forensic teams to collect and process sensitive evidences like DNA.
Dr Deepa Verma, Director, Delhi FSL said, “With these units, the laboratory will be able to ensure early disposal of cases, which in turn would help law enforcement agencies solve complex crimes in the shortest possible time and make timely submissions in courts. Mobile teams will reach the crime scene within shortest possible time, which will ensure proper collection and packaging of evidences without internal or external disturbance, especially in the case of DNA samples which need to be handled with care. In present scenario, it takes too much time to reach at crime scenes located in different corners of the city.”
Emphasising the importance of timely evidence collection and the need for dedicated forensic teams, Sanjeev Kumar Gupta, Assistant Director (Crime Scene Division) added, “Evidence tends to get destroyed or ignored if there is a delay in collecting it from the scene of crime, thereby affecting the quality of investigation. The government recognises this and has sanctioned additional mobile units and Crime Scene Management personnel who will work round-the-clock to visit crime spots and inspect the scene.”
The improved infrastructure will also support a key initiative being driven by Delhi FSL aimed at fast-tracking cases of crime against women and children. The laboratory has constituted a special team of six officials who will concentrate on evidence pertaining to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. “Forensic evidence in crimes against women and children is a priority for Delhi FSL and the team will work on DNA samples and other evidence required for POCSO and rape cases, which will expedite the proceedings,” said Dr Deepa Verma.
Tim Schellberg, Founder & President, Gordon Thomas Honeywell—GA observes, “It’s good to see Delhi FSL steadily augment its infrastructure to match the ever-rising demand for collection and testing of DNA evidence by what is India’s largest metropolitan police force. Forensic DNA is by far the most impactful tool ever utilised in the criminal justice system. However, the fact remains that while the growth in this field has been prolific in most countries, progress in India has been slow. We estimate that India tests 20,000 DNA profiles in criminal cases annually. That is a miniscule number for a country of 1.3 billion people with half million reported violent crimes every. To harness the power of forensic DNA to solve and prevent crime, India has an immediate need for scaling that up by 10 times to 200,000. Hopefully other states will follow Delhi’s example and embrace this technology to create safer communities.”
As per recent estimates, the number of DNA profiles developed from crime scene evidence has doubled over a year from 10,000 cases tested in 2017 to nearly 20,000 this year1
. Despite growth in the number of profiles being tested, the volume remains low especially in crimes against women and children. Official statistics show a dramatic increase in the number of crimes against women, which have increased more than 80% over 10 years, with only one in 4 rape cases resulting in conviction.
Forensic DNA has emerged as the most reliable crime fighting technology the world over. Many countries are effectively using forensic labs and protocols to collect, test, and compare DNA at crime scenes with that of suspects with promising results. Where law machinery world over is increasingly relying on this technology to solve crime, India’s justice system has not been able to realise its potential despite pioneering scientific research in the field of DNA fingerprinting.