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Forensic DNA Education for Law Enforcement Decisionmakers

Encouraging Evidence From the United Kingdom and California

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Encouraging Evidence From the United Kingdom and California

British Police officer knocking on a door
National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (see reuse policy).

Familial DNA searching provides an opportunity to obtain more investigative leads. Law enforcement in the United Kingdom (UK) has been utilizing familial searching for several years. In previous public presentations, UK law enforcement has shown that familial DNA search investigative leads have resulted in convictions in about 12% of the cases. How does this compare with how often CODIS offender hits result in criminal convictions? Little is known on the success rate of CODIS towards producing convictions. Few jurisdictions have attempted to track data from offender cold hits to convictions.

Several years ago, California endeavored to track offender cold hit data to case disposition. During that project, known as "CHOP" (Cold Hit Outcome Project), it was determined that California's offender cold hits resulted in conviction about 13.5% percent of the time. While the UK measure of efficiency is based on a small number of familial search efforts (157) it should provide encouragement to law enforcement that familial DNA searching might add up to 12% to the conviction rate.

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