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Inside England and Wales’ DNA Regime

November 24th, 2009 11:42 admin

Sockatume writes “The UK’s Human Genetics Commission has published its report on the collection of DNA by the Police forces in England and Wales. Currently, Police collect DNA from every suspect in a case which could lead to a criminal record, and retain that material, which the European Court of Human Rights has ruled illegal. The government plans to keep all DNA samples for suspects from England, Wales and Northern Ireland for up to six years, except for DNA from individuals arrested during terrorism-related investigations, which will be retained forever. The report states that the police frequently performed arrests solely to collect DNA, that certain demographics (such as young, black men) were ‘very highly over-represented,’ that there was ‘very little concrete evidence’ that the DNA database had any actual use in investigating crime, and that the database contained material from individuals arrested in Scotland and Northern Ireland, outside its remit. Of the 4.5m individuals in the database, a fifth have never received any convictions or cautions from the Police. The report recommends that an independent advisory body oversee the database, and that laws be passed to limit the uses of the database, while tracking those with access to it, and making misuse of the information a criminal offence.”

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