DNA Database Fingers the Guilty not the Innocent

This written ministerial statement was laid on 24 October 2013 in the House of Commons by James Brokenshire and in the House of Lords by Lord Taylor of Holbeach.

The government has now delivered its commitment to reform the retention of DNA and fingerprint records by removing innocent people from the databases, and adding the guilty.

1,766,000 DNA profiles taken from innocent adults and children have been deleted from the National DNA Database (NDNAD). 1,672,000 fingerprint records taken from innocent adults and children have been deleted from the national fingerprint database. 7,753,000 DNA samples containing sensitive personal biological material, no longer needed as a DNA profile has been obtained, have been destroyed. 480,000 of the DNA profiles removed as part of this programme were taken from children.

At the same time, 6,800 convicted murderers and sex offenders, not on the database under the previous Government, have had their DNA taken and added to the database. These records will be kept permanently, as will those of every convicted adult on the database, to ensure our databases remain a powerful tool for fighting crime.

Now that our DNA and fingerprint databases meet the requirements set out in Part 1, Chapter 1 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, these provisions will be commenced on 31 October.

Animation of the structure of a section of DNA...

Animation of the structure of a section of DNA. The bases lie horizontally between the two spiraling strands. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The NDNAD annual report for 2012-2013 was today published on the Home Office website, providing information for the public on the routine operation and effectiveness of the database, and on the programme to delete innocent people in preparation for the Protection of Freedoms Act. This report is an important part of the government’s aim for transparency and public confidence in the use of DNA.

The figures in the first part of the report show the size of the NDNAD to 31 March 2013, part way through work to delete DNA profiles in line with the Protection of Freedoms Act. Following the deletions described above, theNDNAD will now be considerably smaller. Part two of the report provides more detailed information on these deletions.

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