October 23rd, 2009

DNA U-turn

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Regular readers will know of my objections to the DNA database, at least in its current form, which may seem strange coming from a career police officer & not one with the widest support amongst my old colleagues. I won’t rehash my views – you can use the search box on the right if you want to see previous entries concerning DNA.

I was interested in a report earlier in the week which tells of a government climb-down over the way it retains DNA records.

The current database holds the samples of anyone who has given a sample whether or not they are subsequently convicted, you don’t even have to be charged with an offence to remain on the database for life.

This supposedly changed earlier this year when the European Court ruled that keeping the DNA records of innocent people indefinitely was unlawful.

The Labour Government decided that they would make up their own interpretation of the ruling & keep the records of people who were not convicted for 12 years. Their revised policy was to be ratified in an amendment to the Policing & Crime Bill, which is before the House of Lords. But they have dropped it at the last moment.

I wonder if they realised it would cause further embarrassment to them when the European Court ruled they were still acting unlawfully.
The government plans to announce a new bill to cover DNA retention in the Queen’s Speech in November.

Interestingly, the 2009 report on the DNA database shows a record 5.6 million samples are recorded but the number of crimes solved using it has fallen by a fifth. Over the last 2 years the crimes solved via genetic match fell by 16,000.

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