Shadow Police Minister Rob Lucas said today that the Rann Government had to accept responsibility for its role in ongoing problems with managing the state’s DNA database identified by Judge Shaw in her scathing judgement last week.
While the Police Commissioner will speak on behalf of police officers, Judge Shaw’s judgement raises a number of serious questions which can only be answered by the Rann Government:
• when did the Police Commissioner first raise with the Rann Government concerns about lack of resources to manage properly the DNA database and what action did the Rann Government take?
• when did the Police Commissioner first raise with the Rann Government concerns about the complexity of the DNA legislation and the need for urgent amendments and why did the Rann Government not take urgent action to amend that legislation?
• when did the Auditor-General first raise with the Rann Government or heads of relevant agencies concerns about the management of the DNA database and what action did the Rann Government take?
“The Liberal Party has been advised that the Police Commissioner made his concerns about the need for urgent amendments to the DNA legislation known to the Rann Government ‘quite some time ago’,” Mr Lucas said.
“If this is correct then the Rann Government stands condemned for not acting promptly on the concerns of police.”
Last year’s Auditor-General’s Report (September 2005) raised publicly his concerns about management of the DNA database,
‘certain issues associated with the operation of the DNA database that, in my opinion, were not in strict compliance with the relevant statutory requirements. In particular, this relates to the important matter of the destruction and removal of DNA profile information as stipulated in the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Act 1998 from all electronic and hard copy records, including temporary files and backup media’
While his report was released publicly in September 2005, the usual procedures of the Auditor-General would mean that he probably first raised concerns privately with the agencies either during late 2004 or early 2005.
“As the DNA database is managed by SAPOL and DAIS, former Police Minister Foley and DAIS Minister Wright need to answer when they were first advised of the concerns of the Auditor-General.
“While the Rann Government loves to talk up its ‘tough on law and order’ policies, it would appear from police evidence in this case that the Rann Government did not provide sufficient resources to SAPOL to enable it to manage properly the state’s DNA database.”