DNA database swells despite human rights ruling
5.6 million records and still growing
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.
@ Alex D
One of many, many problems with having such a database is that DNA evidence is regarded as infallible, when it is clearly not. See points about false positives.
Add perceived infallability and false positives and you have a tough job proving your innocence (remember, because it's DNA, your guilt has already been proven).
And that's before I even get onto the government selling your data to health companies.
Re: Contributing badly
Each pair contains two people, so you have two chances to be in each pair. Also, some people are in more than one pair, so the total number of people in those 1.8 million pairs won't be the full 3.6 million. It's still going to be close to that, though. The result is that there's a more than one in twenty chance that someone else in the UK has the same DNA profile as you.
Having said that, this is all a bit simplified, since DNA profiles also take sex into account, and close biological relatives are also more likely to have the same DNA profiles than would otherwise be the case. But, simplified though it is, it still gives an idea of how this one-in-a-billion stuff can easily turn out to be a huge case of lies, damned lies, and statistics.
So, following that line of thought.
With 1.8 million unique pairs of people with the same DNA profile, the chances of me being one half of one of those pairs would be :
1.8m / Population of UK.
Therefore 18000000 / 60000000 = 0.03 so 3 in 100 chance or roughly 33/1 in horse betting terms.
Someone correct my horrifyingly flawed maths/logic.