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More allegations surface over DNA sampling

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Hone Harawira
Hone Harawira

Wellington, June 24 NZPA - More accusations of police pressuring young people to provide DNA samples have surfaced after Maori Party MP Hone Harawira went public with his own concerns.

Police can collect voluntary DNA samples only from people over 14 under strict guidelines when investigating a crime scene, but those guidelines will be relaxed from next month, meaning people aged 14 to 17 can be required to give samples under strict conditions if they are likely to face charges.

Mr Harawira said this week he was aware of situations were several young Maori were "persuaded" to give voluntary samples in situations where they were not obligated to.

Police Minister Judith Collins said anyone who felt police had overstepped the mark when dealing with them should complain to the Independent Police Complaints Authority.

The New Zealand Herald reported today that two people had approached the paper saying they were considering doing that after feeling they were pressured into giving a DNA sample.

One was a 24-year-old woman caught driving without a licence who claims she was told at the police station that she would be released faster if she gave a sample, and the other gave a sample five years ago when he was a schoolboy following a graffiti incident.

His mother alleged police said a driving charge against her son would be dropped if a sample was given.

Both said they were considering laying complaints following publicity about the issue.

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