Fingerprints, Photographs, Medical Examinations, and DNA

Do Victorian police have the right to take fingerprints, medical and DNA samples?
Following is an outline of the procedures relating to fingerprints, medical and DNA samples.

Power to take fingerprints by police

A police officer may take fingerprints to identify a person who is in lawful custody for an offence.

If the person is over 14 years of age, the particulars may include fingerprints, palm prints and photographs. If under 14 the taking of fingerprints must be with the consent of a parent or guardian or by order of the court.

A person to be fingerprinted must be charged with or believed on reasonable grounds to have committed an offence. The person mush be told why the fingerprints are required.

Forensic examination of persons in custody

A forensic examination of a person in custody may be carried out with a person’s consent or under application through the Crimes Act.

Compulsory forensic procedures include the taking of “intimate and “non-intimate” samples and the conduct of a physical examination of the suspects body.
These forensic examinations are for the purpose of obtaining evidence as to the commission of the offence if:

The person has been charged with an offence, or
is believed on reasonable grounds to have committed an indictable offence.


The law relating to the power of police to obtain DNA evidence is complex but is basically guided by what is explained in the process regarding collecting fingerprints and medical samples.

If you have any difficulty understanding the procedures set out on this page please do not hesitate to contact us on 03 9670 5111 or fill out the form to the right of this page.