back to article UK cops seek boffins to build handheld DNA sniffer kit

The National Policing Improvement Agency wants to hear from companies that can supply Blighty's cops with mobile tech that spots DNA. Apparently the cops are spending millions sending samples off for DNA analysis, only to discover that there's no human DNA present. The NPIA wants to equip investigators with handheld kit that …


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  1. wobblestar

    Been watching too much CSI

    Forensic labs already have a number of quick, cheap, accurate methods of detecting and quantifying DNA before DNA profiling.

    Police forces can specify what they want from their suppliers. How about: "We'll give you a fiver to quant the sample. If insufficient DNA, please don't proceed to full profiling".

    No, they'd rather be boy scientists.

  2. Dex


    I believe it's called a magnifying glass!

  3. Anonymous Cowerd

    Zoom, enhance, uncrop!

  4. Jacqui

    reverse story

    some friend of an ACPO member has some kit he wants to sell but no forces will buy it.

    So get NPIA to set up a "challenge" and Mr funny handshake magically comes forward with his solution.

    As others pointed out there are already cheap and effective solutions but nothting that Mr plod is capaable of using himself. Whst NPIA is after is eliminating the SOC forensic skills required. Deskilling saves money even if we waste millions of taxpayers dosh on kit that does a shit job.

  5. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    .....other than that all options are open

    Too easy:

    1. Chop off a finger

    2. Bag it

    3. Send to lab


  6. Ross 7

    All options are open

    "The portable tech must take less than an hour, and other than that all options are open"

    Presumably not all options - there're plenty of ways to make DNA nicely visible, all of which have 2 side effects -

    1) they change the sample which could have evidential issues;

    2) they are *horribly* mutagenic (what with their affinity for binding to DNA)

    As you pointed out, DNA tends to be nicely hidden away in cells, so cell detection is the easiest method. Antibody coagulation would seem the easiest method. it's quick, pretty cheap, and very specific.

    1. wobblestar

      Actually a lot of crime scene dna - 'touch dna' - is outside cells.


      But no aspect of this is a trivial task.

      You gotta wonder just what is going on at the NPIA. Just another bizarre manifestation of the process that has resulted in the closure of the Forensic Science Service?

  7. Michael 28

    presumably ...

    they want something more like a star trek tricorder that dosent involve pretreatment of the scene with ethidium bromide or something

  8. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

    Eeeeerrrrmmmmm ...

    "... the cops are ... sending samples off for DNA analysis, only to discover that there's *no* human DNA present" (my emphasis). Given that anything that has been anywhere near a human is going to have *some* human DNA on it (from hair, skin flakes, saliva and other bodily fluids that are shed routinely), regardless of whether the "donor" has actually been near the actual item (the residue lasts quite a while), I don't see how this can be the case, unless the police are being really odd in their evidence collecting.

    I think I agree with Jacqui above - someone in the funny handshake club has a device they want to flog.

  9. joe K 1
    Thumb Up

    Seems reasonable to me ...

    To those suggesting that this is done in the lab, have you considered that as a CSI forensic expert you might want to be sure you have collected some viable DNA before departing the scene? Collect samples, wait an hour, if none are viable double check the scene to make sure there is no other possible source that has been overlooked. Surely that's better than waiting days for the lab to get back to you, by which point the scene will probably have been compromised. Also, even if the labs can do it for a fiver, how much does it cost to log, package, and securely transport a piece of biological evidence? An example of your type of logic would be having no field breathalysers and transporting all suspicious drivers to a police station, sounds like a big fail to me.

  10. The last doughnut


    Insist that all citizens have DNA modification to fit flouro-marker tags. Easy then to identify valids from invalids etc..

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