by jeeg 26. December 2012 20:29

Complete DNA samples held by the Government will be destroyed over the next five months, ministers have said, to allow the Protection of Freedoms Act to be brought into force. Home Office Minister James Brokenshire said that by May 2013 no complete DNA samples would be held by the Government. Profiles, featuring 20 numbers and two letters, will be retained to allow identification but without revealing a person's genetic make-up.


Additionally, the DNA database is to be scaled back from including the profiles of everyone arrested to a system where retention is based on a series of factors, including guilt or innocence, gravity of offence and age.

From next year, a Biometrics Commissioner will be appointed to review the retention and use of DNA profiles and fingerprints.

In written statement to Parliament, Mr Brokenshire said: "This Government want to protect the privacy and human rights of its citizens while maintaining effective databases that protect the public and reduce crime. In this way, (databases) can continue to operate effectively whilst providing far greater protection of civil liberties."

Mr Brokenshire said the Government's first priority before bringing the Protection of Freedoms Act, which was passed earlier this year, into force was the destruction of DNA samples.

He said: "The Government does not want to retain the complete genetic make-up of any of its citizens. Every DNA sample taken will be destroyed as soon as a DNA profile for use on the database has been obtained from it. Destruction of existing DNA samples will begin in December 2012 and be completed by May 2013."

In order to trim the databases with the new Home Office criteria, Mr Brokenshire said both the National DNA Database and the Police National Computer would be reprogrammed to identify and delete profiles which can no longer be kept.

Deletions will begin in January and will be complete by September, the minister told MPs. Similar rules will also be applied to fingerprint records before the Act is brought fully into force no later than October next year.

Nick Pickles, director of civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: "We welcome this long-overdue announcement but it is a simple fact that the Home Office have failed to deliver what was promised in the Coalition Agreement. While DNA samples will be destroyed, DNA profiles of innocent people will still be held on the database. If computer records remain, it is an empty gesture to delete the original sample."

UK Express



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