An Overly Generous Trust? A Review of Police Powers under the Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples) Act 1995
42 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2020
Date Written: September 2, 2019
This paper reviews the Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples) Act 1995, focusing on the powers this Act confers onto the New Zealand Police and the way these powers are not used neutrally. The drafting of this legislation, specifically the 2009 amendment, has allowed the police to have significant discretion in deciding whom they can collect samples from. This lack of regulation on collection practices has the potential to facilitate the increasing overrepresentation of Māori peoples on the databank. Because of the loose definitions within the empowering provisions, the database samples are susceptible to being used by privacy impeding techniques, such as familial searching. Internationally the regulation on the use of DNA technologies has been much stricter than in New Zealand. This paper seeks to remedy this through implementing greater controls over the collection process and thus reducing the number of samples on the databank susceptible to being used by these techniques. Greater regulation on collection practices could also help reduce the overrepresentation of Māori people on the databank, with explicit reference to this problem in a public interest test around collection.
Keywords: police, Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples) Act 1995, DNA
JEL Classification: K00, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation