CPF members freshen up on their DNA protection skills

CPF member Yasmin le Roux receiving a demonstration booklet and souvenir creatively packed in an evidence envelope from Tony Lelliott, associate professor at Wits University.

Mogale City Community Police Forum (CPF) members gathered at Monument Primary school on Saturday, 27 August to freshen up on their DNA protection skills.

Tony Lelliott, associate professor at the University of the Witwatersrand, showed CPF members how to assist the police by leaving a crime scene undisturbed.

Members of the Krugersdorp CPF attended the DNA protection demonstration at Monument Primary on 27 August to freshen up on their knowledge oft DNA sampling, profiling and protection of crime scenes against contamination.

Members of the Krugersdorp CPF attended the DNA protection demonstration at Monument Primary on 27 August to freshen up on their knowledge oft DNA sampling, profiling and protection of crime scenes against contamination.

The packed school hall was pin-drop quiet as Tony started the demonstration. A make-shift crime scene was used as example of how easily evidence can be lost if a crime scene is disturbed.

Young CPF members who were seeing the DNA protection demonstration for the first time listened attentively as Tony described DNA profiling.

His unique approach to explaining how DNA profiling works included a game in which members of the audience stood up and received a sequenced piece of paper. As each consecutive number was read out, those with the same number had to remain standing while those with other numbers had to sit down. The elimination process left only one person standing. That person was named the main suspect. The CPF members chuckled as the ‘notorious suspect’ was identified.

Tony then explained that the slightest disturbance of a crime scene can jeopardise the DNA sequencing, making it impossible to take a suspect into custody.

He said humans leave a trail of DNA wherever they go.

“You constantly shed skin, lose hair, sneeze or touch, and leaving your biological evidence at the scene can make it impossible for forensics to find a workable DNA sample,” Tony said.

CPF members from all sectors of Krugersdorp attended the DNA protection demonstration at Monument Primary on Saturday, 27 August.

CPF members from all sectors of Krugersdorp attended the DNA protection demonstration at Monument Primary on Saturday, 27 August.

The biological trail suspects unknowingly leave behind is the key that police use to unlock the truth behind a crime.

He explained that putting a barrier around a crime scene is the first step in protecting a scene from DNA contamination. Leaving only one entrance and one exit point at the scene also assists in protecting unseen evidence. He said it would be best if no one (other than the police) were to enter the barricaded area. Taking notes, assisting police and insisting that no one interferes with the scene are the main pointers Tony gave to CPF members to help them to protect a crime scene and ensure justice would be served.

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  AUTHOR
Bianca Pindral
Journalist

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