x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Forensic evidence traps more criminals in UAE

Forensics and crime scene investigation are producing ten times as much evidence as previously, helping to solve more crimes.

Col Abdul Rahman al Hammadi, director of Abu Dhabi police forensics department.
Col Abdul Rahman al Hammadi, director of Abu Dhabi police forensics department.

ABU DHABI // Forensics and crime scene investigation (CSI) are producing ten times as much evidence as before and helping to solve more crimes, it was revealed yesterday.

Until recently there were few investigators, they were limited in how much evidence they could collect and officers rarely knew how to avoid tainting the crime scene.

Police can now gather not only fingerprints, but the unique signature left on a single bullet fired from a gun, according to officials at a CSI conference in the capital yesterday.

The creation of a CSI section in 2005 resulted in a large increase in the number of solved crimes, said Maj Gen Nasser al Naimi, secretary general of the interior minister's office.

"Before CSI we would get a maximum of three pieces of evidence from the scene," he said. "Now we can get up to 30. And now we don't rely on confessions any more, which we consider a failure in conducting an investigation because usually they say they were tortured to confess."

The section is also opening a new storage centre that can preserve evidence for up to 30 years, said Lt Col Salem Al'dere, the head of CSI.

The storage rooms at the crime scene departments can store evidence for five years, which can be of help in a "cold case". Before the CSI section was launched there were no evidence storage facilities.

Investigators who have to trace firearms have 13 new machines for ballistics analysis, producing what amounts to a "fingerprint" for every bullet.

Police are also establishing a weapon database that will record the physical features of firearms so they can track fake, illegal and smuggled weapons. A new centre for testing imported guns that do not have manufacturer's seals is being established as well, Col Abdulrahman al Hamadi, head of the Abu Dhabi Police Forensics Department, said.

"So if I receive a weapon from Afghanistan, I will definitely not license it until I take it to the centre," he said.

A CSI centre will be established in Ajman to serve the Northern Emirates, Lt Col Al'dere said.

And a year from now the nationwide DNA database project will begin by gathering DNA samples from 20,000 prisoners and police officers as a trial stage, said Col Dr Ahmed al Marzooqi, head of the National DNA Database Centre.

Collecting samples of CSI officers is a priority to eliminate their DNA from evidence in a crime scene. He said: "For example, an officer could throw away a cigarette at a crime scene, and his DNA becomes evidence."

The project aims to collect DNA samples from 10 million people over a 10-year period at four centres nationwide at an estimated cost of Dh4 billion.

The precise techniques for large-scale sample collecting and an exact date for when the project will begin after the trial phase have not been announced.

hdajani@thenational.ae

 

Police report successful 2010

A total of 235 cyber crimes occurred last year in the capital, police said yesterday.

The crimes ranged from internet scams, piracy, and causing disturbances online to stealing from
bank accounts and telephone fraud.

Lt Col Faisal al Sahmmeri, the senior security officer at the Abu Dhabi Police Department, also discussed the consequences of online pornography on children.

The Abu Dhabi police anti-cyber crime division, which was created in 2004, helped solve many of these cases last year and arrested offenders, he added.

The sessions will continue for three days at the Holiday Inn.

hdajani@thenational.ae