Biometric and forensic services

Biometric and forensic services

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s biometric systems provide comprehensive intelligence sharing solutions for use by Australia’s law enforcement agencies.

These systems provide Australian police with effective, efficient and powerful national investigative capabilities that cross state and territory boundaries. 

The National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS) is the national system that provides Australian police partners with 24/7 critical fingerprint matching capability to support law enforcement operations at all levels. It is the only national fingerprint and palmprint capability in Australia. On average it is searched more than 4,000 times per day.

In June 2023, the NAFIS NextGen project delivered an upgraded, fully supported system, with advanced latent fingerprint processing and integration with partner agency systems.

NAFIS now offers a new range of capabilities, such as flexible access to enable experts to work from a wider variety of locations, increased automation of standard tasks to free up experts for higher-value work, a more accurate matching algorithm, and a long-term technical support arrangement to ensure that the capability is kept up to date and available into the future.

NAFIS enables near real-time uploads of prints from crime scenes, helping police to identify suspects in minutes, and link that identity to existing warnings, warrants or associated criminal activity information held within other police information reference systems.

While most identifications are for volume crimes such as unlawful entry to homes and car thefts, the system also assists police to identify suspects for more serious crimes such as murder, rape and armed robbery.

NAFIS holds:

  • TenPrint data – finger and palm print images collected from individuals by Australian police and immigration authorities, along with corresponding basic biographic information.
  • Latent data – unsolved finger and palm print impressions recovered from crime scenes, which Australian police can search against.

There are more than 12.5 million fingerprint sets for just over 7 million individuals stored in the system – as some individuals are printed on multiple occasions.

Our fingerprint matching results have significantly improved the ability of police to solve major and minor crime across Australia by identifying a link between a person of interest and forensic evidence. This leads to reduced investigation time and successful prosecutions due to accurate identification of individuals.

The National Criminal Investigation DNA Database (NCIDD) holds more than 1.7 million DNA profiles that have been uploaded by Australian police from crime scenes, convicted offenders, suspects, volunteers, items belonging to missing persons and unknown human remains.

NCIDD provides police the intelligence they need to solve crime by linking DNA profiles obtained from crime scenes with profiles from convicted offenders, suspects, volunteers, items belonging to missing persons and unknown human remains throughout Australia. The database also allows police to match profiles from 2 or more unsolved crime scenes, linking seemingly unrelated police investigations.

DNA evidence has been used to implicate criminals in serious offences such as sexual assault, armed robbery and murder, as well as helping to solve many high-volume crimes such as burglary. Just as importantly, DNA has established the innocence of many people who might otherwise be suspects for a crime.

NCIDD also provides police with familial searching and kinship matching capabilities. This technology is particularly useful for assisting police with missing persons investigations.

We encourage anyone who has a missing family member and who would like to provide their DNA profile to assist in the missing person investigation to contact their state or territory police missing persons unit.

The ACIC works with police agencies to ensure NCIDD operate in accordance with Commonwealth, state and territory legislation governing collection and matching of DNA profiles.

The National Missing Persons and Victim System (NMPVS) provides Australian police with the ability to undertake national searches on long-term missing persons and unidentified human remains.

The NMPVS is also used by Australian and New Zealand police for identifying the victims of disasters.