A pop-up DNA collection centre is in the Hunter today, in the hopes of helping families locate their lost loved ones.

It’s part of a National Missing Persons Week program, with investigators from the State Crime Command’s Missing Persons Registry running a number of the centres across New South Wales.

There’s hope the program could help police find out what happened to some of the Hunter’s most high-profile missing persons cases, such as Gordana Kotevski, Amanda Robinson, and Robyn Hickie.

Registry Manager Glenn Browne says investigators will use the information to draw possible genetic links with unidentified persons or human remains.

“Generally when someone’s reported missing these days, we try and get their direct DNA sample very quickly, by seizing personal effects like toothbrushes and hairbrushes,” he said.

“But for a lot of our older cases, we didn’t gather DNA. We didn’t understand the importance of DNA.”

The Newcastle collection centre is open from 10am to 6pm on Tuesday, in the Banquet Room at Newcastle City Hall.

Investigators are also running pop-up centres at Surry Hills, Dapto, and Penrith throughout the week.

Mr Browne says it’s a simple process for relatives. 

“All people need to do is turn up to our DNA collection centre in Newcastle,” he said. “We take a quick swab from their mouth, and from that swab it gets sent off to our laboratories and they develop a DNA profile from that swab.”

“That DNA profile then goes on to a very specific index, in both the New South Wales and national databases, where it can only ever try and match against the DNA profile from unidentified bodies.

“There’s absolutely no risk at all that anyone might come along and provide a sample and we’ll discover that they committed a crime ten years ago. 

“Legally, we’re not allowed to even try and find links between these samples that we get through these centres, and other DNA profiles that have been developed from crime scenes and things like that.”

Police earlier this year announced a $1 million reward for information into the disappearance of 16-year-old Gordana Kotevski in 1994.