Forensic Procedures refers to the measures taken by the Police in order to identify an individual whom may have commited a crime. However there is strict legislation that determines when forensic procedures are appropriate.

The following table illustrates when it is appropriate for forensic procedures are to be taken out upon an individual suspected of committing an offence.

Suspect’s Status Intimate Forensic Procedure Non-Intimate Forensic Procedure
Adult not Under Arrest With Informed Consent

By order of a Magistrate or an authorised officer

With Informed Consent

By order of a Magistrate or an authorised officer

Adult Under Arrest With Informed Consent

By order of a Magistrate or an authorised officer

With Informed Consent

By order of a Magistrate or an authorised officer

Incapable Person (Regardless of whether or not under arrest) By order of a Magistrate or an authorised officer By order of a Magistrate or an authorised officer
Child at least 10 but under 18 (Regardless of whether or not under arrest) By order of a Magistrate or an authorised officer By order of a Magistrate or an authorised officer

Forensic Procedures generally fall under two categories, intimate and non-intimate. The following is a list of procedures and their respective categories.

Intimate forensic procedures

  • external examination of a persons private parts
  • carrying out an other-administered buccal swab
  • taking a blood sample
  • taking a sample of pubic hair
  • taking a sample of any matter, by swab or washing, from the person’s private parts
  • the taking from a person of a sample of any matter, by vacuum suction, scraping or lifting by tape, from the person’s private parts
  • taking a dental impression
  • taking of a photograph of the person’s private parts
  • taking from the person an impression or cast of a wound from the person’s private part

Non-Intimate forensic procedures

  • external examination of a part of a persons body, other than the person’s private parts, the requires touching of the body or removal of clothing
  • carrying out a sel-administered buccal swab
  • taking a sample of hair, which is other than pubic hair
  • taking a sample of the persons nails or of matter from under the persons nails
  • taking a sample of any matter, by swab or washing, from any external part of the person’s body, other than the person’s private parts
  • taking a sample of any matter, by vacuum suction, scraping or lifting by tape, from any external part of the persons body other than the person’s private parts
  • taking a hand print, finger print, foot print or toe prine
  • taking a photograph of a part of a person’s body, other than the person’s private parts
  • taking an impression or cast of a wound from a part of the person’s body other than the person’s private parts
  • taking of a person’s physical measurements for biomechanical analysis of an external part of the person’s body, other than the person’s private parts

Time Limits

Most forensic procedures must be carried out 2 hours after authorisation of the procedure – s6 Crimes (Forensic Procedures) Act 2002 (NSW)

Destruction of Forensic Material Taken. Forensic material will be destroyed if:

  • A conviction is quashed
  • 12 months have elapsed and proceedings against the suspect have not been instituted or have been discontinued
  • forensic material was given voluntarily for elimination purposes
  • No conviction has been recorded
  • person was acquitted

Fingerprints

If you have been charged for an offence, the Police are entitled to do all necessary procedural requirements for identification such as the taking of fingerprints, as long as you are over the age of 14 years. Your permission is not necessary if you are already in Police Custody.

However, if you are not in Police Custody, you are not under any obligation to have your fingerprints taken. The Police must seek an order from the Court in order to obtain your fingerprints if you are yet to be charged with an offence.

Destruction of Fingerprint records: If your fingerprints were taken during your time in police custody, and you are found not guilty, you may apply to the Commissioner of Police to have such records destroyed.

Under the age of 14 years: The Police are unable to take your fingerprints if you are under the age of 14 years, however are able to apply to the Court for an order which would allow them to do so.

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