US Ambassador in Dhaka Marcia Bernicat on Thursday laid emphasis on meticulous collection of evidence from crime scenes, their careful preservation and keeping those free from contamination to properly deal with crimes.
“Contaminated evidence can have dire consequences - the guilty can go free and in some cases, an innocent person might be implicated,” she said.
The US Ambassador was addressing a handover ceremony of CODIS to Bangladesh Police as part of cooperation between the two countries.
Additional IGP Md Mokhlesur Rahman, Additional IGP, Industrial Police Abdus Salam and DIG (HRM), CID Saiful Alam also spoke at the function held the Criminal Investigation Department (ICD) headquarters.
CODIS is the acronym for the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) and is the generic term used to describe the FBI's programme of support for criminal justice DNA databases as well as the software used to run these databases.
"With sophisticated technology come added responsibilities," Bernicat said adding that CODIS blends forensic science and computer technology into an effective tool for solving crimes.
Talking about CODIS, she said this technology, combined with local expertise, can be a major factor in the improvement of the criminal justice system in Bangladesh.
The US diplomat said CODIS enables law enforcement crime laboratories to exchange and compare DNA profiles electronically, thereby linking serial violent crimes to each other, and to known offenders.
The US Ambassador said the public must be educated to stay clear of crime scenes and allow the police to process an uncontaminated crime scene.
“The police must take more proactive steps to protect the integrity of crime scenes. Otherwise, a case that might have been solved could now become another cold case,” she said.
Ambassador Bernicat said media can help by educating the public of importance of remaining outside the marked parameters of crime scenes until the scene is examined.
Mokhlesur Rahman said they are fighting and fighting back against the criminals with increasing success rate.
He lauded US’ support to Bangladesh police in further strengthening its capacities in various areas.
In response to a request from the CID chief, the United States International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) sought and obtained US Counterterrorism Bureau funding to provide Bangladesh with CODIS capabilities, said the US Embassy.
The FBI donated the CODIS software and the instructors for the week-long training. ICITAP provided the server, operating software licenses, and travel expenses for the trainers, it said.
Certificates were also distributed among 21 Dhaka Metropolitan Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officers who attended relevant training.
At this event, the Ambassador formally handed over the CODIS software to the Bangladesh National Police to enhance identification capability at their DNA laboratory.