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DNA database swells despite human rights ruling

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An average of 40,000 profiles per month have been added to the National DNA Database since judges ruled the retention of samples from innocent people was illegal under human rights laws.

More than 300,000 profiles have been added since the judgment last December. The figures, released on Tuesday, take the total number of profiles stored on the database to about 5.6 million*.

The Home Office responded to the European Court of Human Rights ruling by agreeing to remove DNA profiles taken from innocent people after six or 12 years on the database.

The move angered campaigners and the Tories by stopping short of removing all DNA profiles from innocent people.

In response to the continued growth of the database, shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said today: "The Government still doesn't seem to get it about the DNA database. It is clearly illegal to maintain the records of innocent people, but they are dragging their feet in dealing with the problem.

"Conservatives have announced that we would adopt a system similar to that used in Scotland, where the DNA profiles of those not convicted of an offence would only be retained in circumstances where charges relating to a crime of violence or a sexual offence had been brought. In these circumstances DNA profiles could be retained for a maximum period of five years subject to judicial oversight."

The Home Office argues that December's ruling merely obliges it to place a time limit on retention of innocent profiles, not to stop storing them. Civil liberties campaigners have pointed out that the addition of hundreds of thousands more profiles has not improved detection rates. ®

*It's estimated that 13.5 per cent are duplicates.

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