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Biometric and forensic services

A safer Australia by improving forensic identifications through biometrics.

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission provides core biometric matching services to police, including the National Automated Fingerprint Identification System, the National Criminal Investigation DNA Database and the National Missing Persons and Victim System. These services help police to identify suspects and solve crimes by matching fingerprints or DNA.

Through these services, our agency contributes directly to the effectiveness and efficiency of police and law enforcement agencies in Australia.

National Automated Fingerprint Identification System

Our National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS) is a fingerprint and palm print database and matching system, which is used by police agencies to help solve crime and identify individuals by establishing a person’s identity from fingerprint and palm impressions. It is also used by the Department of Home Affairs to support Australia’s migration program.

The NAFIS allows police to upload and search in near 'real time' for fingerprint data obtained from an arrest point, or from evidence obtained at a crime scene. This makes it possible to identify a person of interest within minutes and link that identity to existing warnings, warrants or associated criminal activity information held within other police information reference systems. The 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.

Matching results achieved 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 NAFIS is the single national automated fingerprint system in Australia. It is available 24 hours, seven days a week to all Australian police agencies. It has been operational nationally since April 2001.

National Criminal Investigation DNA Database

Our National Criminal Investigation DNA Database (NCIDD) provides Australian police and forensic scientists with a powerful national investigative tool, which crosses all state and territory boundaries.

Australian police use DNA evidence to inform or support investigations. The NCIDD helps Australian police solve crime by linking DNA profiles from a crime scene with convicted offenders, suspects, volunteers, missing persons or unknown deceased persons throughout Australia. The database also allows police to match profiles from two or more unsolved crime scenes, linking seemingly unrelated police investigations.

The NCIDD is available 24 hours, seven days a week to all Australian police agencies. It has been operational nationally since April 2001, and since then more than 1.2 million DNA profiles have been uploaded. The NCIDD contains DNA profiles from samples collected by Australian police from crime scenes, convicted offenders, suspects, volunteers, items belonging to missing persons, and unknown deceased persons.

Our agency works with police agencies to ensure NCIDD operates in accordance with relevant Commonwealth, state and territory legislation governing collection and matching of DNA profiles.

NCIDD Integrated Forensic Analysis

The NCIDD Integrated Forensic Analysis (NCIDD-IFA) was deployed in 2018 to enable enhanced kinship matching, familial searching and advanced direct matching.

The NCIDD-IFA functionality provides our police partners and related agencies with a new forensic software to enable familial searching, kinship matching and advanced direct matching across Australia's state and territory borders for law enforcement purposes.

Read the Minister of Home Affairs media release on the National Criminal Investigation DNA Database.

DNA profiling

DNA profiling is a forensic identification tool of considerable power. The chance of two unrelated individuals sharing the same DNA profile is in the order of one in a billion—making a match between a crime scene profile and a suspect crucially important.

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 also clearly established the innocence of many people who might otherwise be suspects for a crime.

National Missing Persons and Victim System

Our National Missing Persons and Victim System (NMPVS) provides police and other law enforcement agencies with the ability to undertake national searches on long-term missing persons, unidentified human remains, and disaster victim identification.

This national solution helps police in each state and territory share and match information on missing persons, which was previously limited by the use of localised systems in each jurisdiction.

The NMPVS is also available to forensic specialists who work with Australian police and New Zealand police for the victim identification in the event of a disaster.

Increasing the number of identifications of long-term missing persons will help provide some closure for concerned families. It is estimated that 38,000 people are reported missing each year in Australia.

Last updated
21 June 2019