An Overly Generous Trust? A Review of Police Powers under the Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples) Act 1995

42 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2020

See all articles by Nina Weir

Nina Weir

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni

Date Written: September 2, 2019

Abstract

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

Weir, Nina, An Overly Generous Trust? A Review of Police Powers under the Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples) Act 1995 (September 2, 2019). Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper No. 11/2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3563896 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3563896

Nina Weir (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni ( email )

PO Box 600
Wellington, Victoria 6140
New Zealand

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