BVI News

Cops taking DNA ‘by force’ will not be aggressive! It’s a key capability

“[Taking DNA by reasonable force really means a] comb through the hair of the suspect or a cotton swab inside the mouth for a bit of saliva” — Police Commissioner Michael Matthews

When news first broke that the new Police Act would give cops the power to take DNA from criminal suspects by force, there was a public uproar against the proposed policy.

Police Commissioner Michael Matthews said during a press conference yesterday that the concept is not as bad or even new as people might believe.

“[The legislation] uses a language that talks about the taking of DNA by force … I think there was this kind of vision [from the public] that my officers were going to be pinning somebody down on the ground and getting a needle out and drawing blood and so forth, and beating them into submission,” the Commissioner said.

In explaining the actual intention behind that area of the legislation, the Matthews said the term ‘take DNA by force’ really means a light “comb through the hair of the suspect or a cotton swab inside the mouth for a bit of saliva”.

The commissioner further explained that this “reasonable force” would only be done if a suspect refuses to give their DNA voluntarily. More importantly, Matthews said this can only be used in cases when a person is suspected of a “serious crime”.

“It has to be certain categories of the crime,” he assured.

The top cop also noted that ‘taking DNA by reasonable force’ is a policy that has been taking from existing legislation that dates back to the 1980s in the United Kingdom.

Critical investigation capability

He also described it as a critical investigating tool that the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force does not currently have.

“The current situation is we cannot take DNA at all unless we’ve charged somebody. And therefore, as I’ve already explained, if we haven’t got enough evidence to charge and we ask somebody to voluntarily give DNA, they can say ‘no’. And even though we might think that they are the prime, number-one suspect and we’ve got blood at the scene of something, we can’t do anything about that if they say no. And that’s a major, major problem for crime investigations to any law enforcement,” Commissioner Matthews said.

He argued that jurisdictions around the world already enjoy legislation that allows — under “very controlled circumstances” — for the police to use “reasonable force” to extract DNA for uncooperative suspects.

Because of the perceived controversial nature of the legislation, the government has decided to go through the public consultation process before moving forward with the Bill.

The Police Act has already undergone what is known as a First Reading in the House of Assembly. This means it has been ‘introduced’ to the House.

It will not advance further until public consultations are completed.

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  1. YES says:

    That way a lot of criminals will be caught.

    Like 19
    Dislike 1
  2. NO- not for the Nation says:

    This legislation would have far reaching effects – the violation is too great a risk – Premier you are in power today, but imagine a time when you resume regular civilian life…do you want to be forcibly subjected to your DNA being taken? Come on now…

    Like 13
    Dislike 17
  3. @NO - not for the nation says:

    couple of things come to mind – if you ain’t got nothing to hide whats your problem ? only when a member of your family get murdered you will get the message would you prefer that

    Like 16
    Dislike 6
    • crooked cops says:

      will have your dna to plant elsewhere

      Like 3
      Dislike 4
      • strupes says:

        All the cops will have is an intital sample. What? You in bed with the cops? I guess they’ll steal your hair brush off your dresser after a late night session.

    • @ @NO-not for the nation says:

      It’s not about anything to hide…when you give them that kind of power that is the beginning of the end of freedoms as we know it…POLICE STATE …look at China…look at Indonesia …military coup…far fetched…,.these things don’t happen all at once…it starts by a little inching away at your freedoms….this damn police force lazy…this is the least populous and one of the smallest territory in the region and crime can’t get solved. Give yourself a breack

      Like 1
      Dislike 2
  4. Desperately figthing says:

    To keep a race in power….wen the time is at it wit….

  5. Lol says:

    Dna to plant where they want ayo really stupid bad

    Like 9
    Dislike 4
    • sooo says:

      …your saliva…you hair… your skin cells…your semen…cops just be making it out of thin air and plantin it all over BVI

  6. GTFOH says:

    Nothing wrong with this but the same law should make provisions to destroy all negative DNA matches immediately once a negative match is confirmed and documented.

    Like 10
    Dislike 1
  7. @crooked cops says:


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  8. Real Talk says:

    I want to say this, it is very easy to be setup of a crime after taking someone’s DNA. Let’s be opening and real. Yes nothing to hide but the big picture.can I trust anyone with my DNA. Short story No!

    Like 2
    Dislike 2
    • Strange says:

      Just to add, taking by force means taking by force. If that’s in the proposed legislation it should be removed in its entirety. No one should be compelled to provide their DNA. Next will legislation be passed advising that suspects must confess, there is no need for a lawyer present, accused is guilty and should prove their innocence, etc etc.

  9. 2cents says:

    Can BVI test this dna or will it need to be shipped out somewhere? I would think that may result in corrupted results.

  10. strupes says:

    All the cops will have is an intital sample. What? You in bed with the cops? I guess they’ll steal your hair brush off your dresser after a late night session.

  11. Hmmm says:

    A few innocent have to suffer for the guilty on this one. WE NEED THESE ASSASSINS AND ROBBERS OFF OUR STREETS. We crying for help. This is the help! I STRONGLY believe the benefits outweigh the risks for this one. Think my people. Cops can’t manufacture YOUR DNA, so how are they going to plant it? We have to learn to think critically and stop listening to the noise.

  12. Blue banana says:

    Two points:
    1. Saliva swabs themselves are not stored. Instead the DNA information on the swab is read by a highly accurate computer reader, and the DNA information from it is stored in a vast computer system that can be accessed world wide by agencies such as Interpol. Pretty hard to sprinkle little paper stubs, eg Post It’ s around a crime scene and say they prove Joe Blow did the crime.

    2. The science of genetics and mRNA information is currently being used to solve “cold” crimes. There have been a number of such crimes even dating back as far as the eighties, that have been solved recently. In a number of cases, the “convicted killer” has been proven definitively that he was NOT guilty, even though he had been in prison for 40 years. He had been proven to be guilty of with the limited skills available in the eighties.

    3. Your mRNA code is unique to you. You are born with it, and you die with it. It is based on hundreds of thousands of
    independent factors. Poker players – figure out the odds for a match there!

  13. The truth says:

    We really need to get this Police Act pass and stop the ignorance.

  14. Questionable says:

    Just being the devil’s advocate.
    My girlfriend is fooling around with a police guy(no disrespect, it goes on on a regular basis). She is caught, now she knows it aint going to be nice,but having real evidence against her,she wants to get back something on me,so she and the police guy conspire to trap me and she let get his hands on my comb or my tooth brush. That is the kind of perimeters we have to deal with. Some of our cops are rootless,remember that,i could call names ,but.

  15. D/A says:

    Just being troublesome( i think i’m one good law abiding citizen, with good morals) good cops bad cops evil cops, all the same. A cotton swab could absorb more than sufficient stuff to poison someone.who will watch out for the peeson being swabbed, the same coneiving awabber, right?take this for its two cents” I would poison yuh Backside “keep that phrase in mind. S**t happrns.

  16. @ ASKING says:

    some of you should be in Hollywood / with all the (DNA ) experts around – we don’t need Scotland yard

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