Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Differing Perception of DNA Evidence and Intelligence Capabilities in Criminal Investigations

Version 1 : Received: 2 February 2020 / Approved: 3 February 2020 / Online: 3 February 2020 (03:27:19 CET)

How to cite: Scudder, N.; Kelty, S.F.; Busby Grant, J.; Montgomerie, C.; Walsh, S.J.; Robertson, J.; McNevin, D. Differing Perception of DNA Evidence and Intelligence Capabilities in Criminal Investigations. Preprints 2020, 2020020004 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202002.0004.v1). Scudder, N.; Kelty, S.F.; Busby Grant, J.; Montgomerie, C.; Walsh, S.J.; Robertson, J.; McNevin, D. Differing Perception of DNA Evidence and Intelligence Capabilities in Criminal Investigations. Preprints 2020, 2020020004 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202002.0004.v1).

Abstract

The ability to predict physical characteristics from DNA presents significant opportunities for forensic science. Giving scientists an ability to make predictions about the donor of genetic material at a crime scene can then give investigators new intelligence leads for cold cases where DNA evidence has not identified any person of interest. However, the interpretation of this new form of intelligence requires careful analysis. The responses to an online survey, conducted in 2018-19, were used to examine how actors in the criminal justice system assess and interpret different types of DNA evidence and intelligence. The groups of focus for the survey were investigators, legal practitioners and the general public (as potential jurors). Several statistically significant effects were identified based on occupation and whether an individual had prior exposure to new DNA technology. Monitoring how those involved in interpreting reports from different types of DNA evidence and intelligence interpret them helps to ensure that decisions are made based on a sound understanding of their capabilities and limitations and may inform broader training and awareness strategies.

Subject Areas

DNA; phenotyping; intelligence; interpretation

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