Feeds

Home Office minister invites DNA database debate

As records hit four million

Boost IT visibility and business value

Home Office minister Meg Hillier has insisted on the need to debate the future of the National DNA Database.

Responding to parliamentary questions from two Conservative MPs, Hillier said the growth of the database, which now holds records of more than four million people, has made a debate on its future development necessary.

Tory MP Stephen Crabb asked Hillier if she "understood the enormous extent to which good will and support for the police and for her department are being undermined by a system in which DNA information is being recorded aggressively, but removed in a haphazard way and on a discretionary basis, dependent on police force area".

He highlighted the case of 75 year old Geoffrey Orchard, who was wrongfully arrested and received a written apology from the police, but who remains unable to get his DNA information removed from the system.

Hitting back, Hillier claimed the database had been used to solve 452 homicides, 644 rapes, and more than 8,000 domestic burglaries. She also stressed the fact that a person's DNA was held on the database was not an indication of guilt.

But a spokesperson for human rights pressure group Liberty said by holding the records of non-convicted individuals, the database creates a stigma of guilt.

She told GC News: "Liberty is very concerned about the effect of the national DNA database on young people, in particular, the estimated 100,000 under-18s whose DNA samples are being held despite the fact that they have not been cautioned or charged with any offence. This creates a stigma of guilt which is unwarranted and could lead to problems for individuals later in life."

In September this year, appeal court judge Lord Sedley put forward the case for the compulsory retrieval and storage of every citizen's DNA record.

Asked whether she agreed with Sedley's proposal, Hillier insisted the government had no plans for a universal database, and invited a debate on its future.

"Because it has grown to include more than four million people, it is important that we get the chance to debate how we proceed," the minister said. "I have already asked officials to look at the design of the forms on which people give their permission – if they have given it voluntarily – for that information to remain permanently on the database."

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.