Several forensic services help police gather, analyze and document evidence to put before the courts.
Fingerprints - Fingerprint Sections in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch identify latent fingerprints and examine crime scenes and exhibits for fingerprints. The National Fingerprint Section in Wellington maintains the national fingerprint database, both physically in the storage of more than 430,000 original sets of fingerprints, and on the Automated Fingerprint Identification System database. Learn more about fingerprints
Document Examination - Based in Wellington, the Document Examination Section provides forensic investigation for police and private clients of documents associated with crime and other matters.
Armoury - The Police Armoury performs forensic examinations of firearms used in crimes, sudden deaths and accidents. All police issue firearms are repaired and maintained there, and staff give technical advice to Police Arms Officers on whether various makes and models comply with the Arms Act 1983.
Photography - Around 40 photographers work in police stations around the country. Using cameras or video, they record any evidence that may help a criminal inquiry or a later prosecution. Their work includes documenting homicides, sexual assaults, robbery, arson, burglary, drug scenes, car crashes and suspicious deaths.
Technical Support Unit - The TSU provides technical assistance to serious crime investigations.
Scene of Crime Officers - SOCOs lift fingerprints from crime scenes. They are also experts in assessing potential forensic items such as blood stained clothing or weapons, and lifting, preserving and packaging evidence.
Electronic Crime Laboratory - The ECL recovers evidence from electronic equipment used in the commission of crimes. The Lab also provides forensic audio services.
Environmental Science and Research Ltd - ESR is a Crown Research Institute, and is the sole provider of forensic science services to the New Zealand Police. ESR has forensic laboratories in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. From these locations, ESR's three Forensic Service Centres provide the Police with an on-call crime scene examination service, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. ESR also operates analytical laboratories which analyze samples in the areas of biology (DNA), physical evidence (paint, glass, fibres etc), illicit drugs, toxicology, breath/ blood alcohol and workplace drug testing.
Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) Police have 160 SAR squad members trained in DVI response. New Zealand has:
*Become a formal member of the Australasian DVI Committee
*Adopted the international best practice models in relation to scene management, postmortem, antemortem, reconciliation and debriefing
*Established a New Zealand National DVI Committee including Police, coroners, dentists, pathologists, funeral directors, ESR, TAIC, airlines and NZ Defence.
*Participated in training with the Australian DVI Committee