Police in UK accused of arresting people purely for DNA samples

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Agent 204 Agent 204's picture
Police in UK accused of arresting people purely for DNA samples

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Police officers are now routinely arresting people in order to add their DNA sample to the national police database, an inquiry will allege tomorrow.

The review of the national DNA database by the government's human genetics commission also raises the possibility that the DNA profiles of three-quarters of young black males, aged 18 to 35, are now on the database.

The human genetics commission report, Nothing to hide, nothing to fear?, says the national DNA database for England and Wales is already the largest in the world, at 5 million profiles and growing, yet has no clear statutory basis or independent oversight.

The highly critical report from the government's advisory body on the development of human genetics is published as the number of innocent people on the database is disclosed to be far higher than previously thought ‑ nearing 1 million.

The commission says the policy of routinely adding the DNA profiles of all those arrested has led to a highly disproportionate impact on different ethnic groups and the stigmatisation of young black men, with the danger of their being seen as "an 'alien wedge' of criminality".

The crime and security bill published last week by the home secretary, Alan Johnson, proposes to keep DNA profiles of people arrested but not convicted of any offence on the database for six years. This follows a landmark European court judgment last December, ruling illegal the current blanket policy of indefinite retention of DNA profiles whether or not the person has been convicted of an offence.

From the Guardian.

autoworker autoworker's picture

Is this the ongoing legacy of The Blair Witchhunt Project?